Jerlin Anika Jayaratchagan is an Indian deaf badminton player. She came into the limelight in May 2022 when she won 3 gold medals at the Deaflympics organised at Caxias do Sul in Brazil. She and these medals in the team event, mixed doubles event, and women’s singles event.
Jerlin Anika was born on Monday, 18 October 2004 (age 18 years; as of 2022) in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Her zodiac sign is Libra. She completed her primary school education at Avvai Corporation GHSS, Madurai, and higher school education at St. Joseph’s Girls Higher Secondary School, Tamil Nadu.
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is J. Jeya Ratchagen, and he is a small businessman. Jerlin Anika’s mother, Leema, is a homemaker. She has a brother.
She is not married.
Jerlin Anika was one of the participants in the Federation of India School Games in the 2016 badminton championships. In these championships, she won a silver medal in the U-13 category and was a student of class 9th in St. Joseph’s Girls Higher Secondary School in Tamil Nadu. Jerlin Anika was the winner of a badminton championship organised in Hyderabad in 2017. This victory opened her way to participate in the Summer Deaflympics in the same year. When she was 13 years old, Jerlin Anika participated in the women’s singles and women’s doubles events, which were organised in Turkey during the Summer Deaflympics. She was regarded as the youngest participant who secured 5th place and became the first athlete, along with Prithvi Sekhar, from Tamil Nadu to participate in these badminton championships. Jerlin Anika was the winner of the two silver medals and a bronze medal in the East Asia Pacific Deaf Badminton Championships organised in Malaysia in 2018. She was the winner of a bronze medal in the senior category in women’s doubles events organised in the 5th Asia Pacific Deaf Badminton Championships. During the same championships, in the U-21 girls’ category, Jerlin Anika won silver medals in singles and doubles events. When she was 15 years old, she won a gold medal in the girls’ singles final match of the World Youth Badminton Championships in 2019. In this match, her opponent Finja Rosendahl from Germany lost the match to Jerlin Anika, and upon winning this event, Jerlin Anika became a youth deaf world champion. The second edition of the World Deaf Youth Badminton Championships was organised in the same year, and Jerlin Anika won silver medals in girls’ doubles and mixed doubles events. In September 2021, Jerlin Anika was one of the participants in the 24th summer Deaflympics organised at Caxias do Sul in Brazil, and in May 2022, she won three gold medals in the team event, mixed doubles event, and women’s singles event.
- Her full name is Jerlin Anika Jayaratchagan.
- Jerlin Anika was diagnosed with a hearing disability when she was 2 years old. She started playing badminton when she was 8 years old. Her father helped her to play badminton so that she could distract herself from her disability while focusing on the game.
- Jerlin Anika’s coach, T. Saravanan, said in an interview with the media house that Jerlin Anika was a very focused badminton player with good hand-eye coordination. T. Saravanan explained,
Jerlin had good hand-eye coordination and was very focused. Talent coupled with hard work was what helped her achieve such great feats. All credits go to her and her determination to win. I was merely a guide.”
In the same conversation, he added that on the ground, gestures and lip reading were the only ways to communicate with Jerlin Anika. He further recalled that in the beginning, sometimes Jerlin Anika felt anxiety due to the crowd at the ground, which led her to lose some matches. He further revealed that Jerlin practised badminton 8 to 10 hours a day.
- According to her father, J. Jeya Ratchagen, initially, it was very difficult for him to enrol Jerlin Anika in the national level matches as the badminton equipment and travelling expenses were very costly. In a conversation with the media house, he stated that his family and relatives helped him a lot financially to manage these expenses. J. Jeya Ratchagen said,
It cost at least Rs 50,000 to take part in a national-level match. Thanks to some friends and family members, we were able to manage. From 2019 onwards, we received financial support from the State government and private companies to meet travel expenses, among others.”
In the same conversation, J. Jeya Ratchagen added that apart from badminton, Jerlin Anika liked fashion and clothes very much. He said,
The only thing that interests Jerlin other than badminton is fashion and clothes.”
- According to her coach, T. Saravanan, while playing at the badminton ground Jerlin Anika’s reaction time to shuttle halts her performance. While talking to a media reporter he said that the speed of a shot could be easily judged by the normal players by the sound of the shuttle when it hits the racquet. However, Jerlin Anika used this disadvantage as her advantage by not getting distracted by other noises.
- In 2021, Jerlin Anika received a scholarship of ₹3.25 lakh from the HCL company. In a press conference that was organised at an event in Noida, the HCL Foundation Director, Nidhi Pundhir stated that this scholarship was granted to Jerlin Anika so that her father and coach could accompany her for the Deaflympics and the company was playing a small role to boost her motivation.