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Rising When You Fall: Neha Aggarwal (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Neha Aggarwal’s talk titled “Rising When You Fall” at TEDxHyderabad 2019 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


The 2008 Beijing Olympics

It was the evening of 8th of August 2008. Billions of people across the world hooked on to the TV screens. 91,000 people gathered inside the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, China. Thousands of world’s top athletes from over 200 nations came together under one roof.

And there I was, clad in a beautiful green sari, ready to walk in the parade of nations. And as I saw the Tiranga in front of me, I felt chills down my spine. And suddenly at that moment, I realized this was it. This was the biggest sporting spectacle across the world, once every four years, and I had made it.

It was the Olympic Games. And as I stepped inside the Bird’s Nest Stadium, I pinched myself, not once, twice. It was hard to believe I was there. We walked across, waving to the crowd, and all I could see were flashes of lights.

And within that moment, those 12 years of hard work all came flashing across my mind. Practicing every day at 5:30 a.m. in the morning, the hard work, the toil, the sweat, and many times the blood, it all came flashing inside my mind. And that is when it felt all worth it. And that was it, when I had made it, with the top athletes in the world, the only woman to represent India at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in table tennis.

Early Days in Table Tennis

I was there. But when I started playing table tennis back in 1997, I was a little plump, very little kid from Delhi, who also liked cartoons and loved going to school. I had a very unique love-hate relationship with the sport. I had no idea why I started playing.

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I had no idea why I was practicing. And I had no idea why I was working so hard. Or what I could recall, I only practiced. I loved going to the sessions because I used to hang out with my brother all the time.

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