It’s the pinnacle moment for our para shuttlers
By Gaurav Khanna
Right now I feel it’s the pinnacle moment for the para shuttlers. The performance of our para shuttlers at the Tokyo Paralympics was the talk of the town. Four of them had a podium finish with Krishna Nagar and Pramod Bhagat winning the gold—a feat hitherto unmatched. Also the fact that Suhas and Manoj went on to win a silver and bronze proved to be the icing on the cake—literally.
I have been associated with the para badminton players for more than a decade now. I can tell our readers that there for testing the barometer of success—it’s just about winning. And it’s here that our para shuttlers have been winning everything before them—be it an Asian Para Games, World Para Games or Olympics (Paralympics). When it comes to sheer performance, I can stick my neck out and say that there are few sportspersons who have performed and won more consistently than our para shuttlers.
It is here that I want to make a candid observation. If someone feels that winning the para event is easy , I think that person is under the greatest delusion. Living a normal life for a para athlete is in itself a challenge —when it comes to competing with an able bodied person. So the amount of hard work and odds that he has to undergo is of the degree that many able bodied persons can even fathom about.
To prove my point, let’s take the case of Krishna Nagar. In his younger days, the 22-year from Jaipur was mocked and made fun of by people around him for his short height. Little did they know that the stuff Nagar was made off. His crowning moment –winning the gold at the Tokyo Paralympics made even his detractors and strongest critics pour tributes on him. Such is the extraordinary life of a para athlete.
Currently I am in Bahrain, with our shuttlers who are competing in the Junior Asian Paralympics. We have are having a haul of 15 medals ( 4 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze). I cannot express the words of appreciation for our para shuttlers.
I must also make special mention the special encouragement our para shuttlers have got from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I have met him a couple of times and was struck by his concern and special interest he took in the para shuttlers. He has promised us of all the help and assistance we require for enhancing our performance. He has also taken personal interest in our wellbeing.
I will conclude by saying that one can expect more laurels from our shuttlers in the future also.
The writer is a Dronacharya winner and chief coach of para badminton team
The views expressed by the writer are personal and may not in any way represent those of TIME8.