One of this year’s U.S. Open contestants is USA Para Table Tennis player, Navin Kumar. He is the first Parkinson’s athlete in history to represent the USA in international table tennis competitions as part of the Paralympic Program. Nicknamed “The Bionic Man” in the table tennis world, he is also a 5 time open-heart surgery survivor with mechanical heart, pacemaker and other artificial components. He plays table tennis to inspire folks to play this sport for the wonderful health benefits it offers and also plays table tennis for his survival. Navin has seen major improvement to both his heart health and Parkinson’s Disease, particularly with less muscle stiffness and tremendous improvement in reflexes thanks to his style of table tennis play. He enjoys returning smashes of the ball, while unleashing his own smashes too!
An IT Professional for the federal government, Navin Kumar thrives as a motivational speaker and enjoys speaking in front of people whether it is 1 person or 100,000 people. He inspires them to achieve their potential and attributes his fearless attitude to being in front of large groups and the many years he spent as a professional singer and electric violinist performing to large audiences.
Navin wasn’t expected to survive any of his 5 heart surgeries but with a positive outlook, he has defied the odds his entire life and now shows his gratitude by inspiring others to live healthy lives by playing table tennis.
Navin had a great experience representing the USA at his first ever international table tennis tournament 2 weeks ago in Barcelona, Spain. While he did not win any medals in competition, he did score an upset win against a great player from Norway, thereby establishing Navin with a possible world rating. Navin feels that the privilege of representing the USA and representing Parkinson’s patients worldwide is his true gold medal. Winning and losing isn’t important to him because for him to be able to stand there at a table tennis table and play this great game is enough considering the great odds against him that he’s overcome. Navin plays table tennis for a greater purpose which is to inspire others and for his continued survival in playing the game he loves. With this mindset, this is when Navin plays his best game.
Navin will be at The World’s Biggest Ping Pong Pool Party and will be interviewed. To ask him questions, download the Periscope app, follow @PONGTOPIA and tune in between 8-midnight (US Pacific Time) on July 10th.