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11 Indian athletes who proved Nothing is Impossible | The Youth Special

Anandan Gunasekaran wins disabled Men’s 100m and 400m gold at World Military Games

In yet another proud moment, para-athlete Anandan Gunasekaran has won two gold medals in the disabled men’s 100m and 400m IT1 events at the World Military Games in Wuhan.

Gunasekaran had clocked 12.00 seconds to clinch the 100m event and quite interestingly this is India’s first medal in the ongoing Games. Peru’s Casas Jose followed up next, clocking 12.65 while of Fajardo Pardo Teodicelo of Colombia settled for bronze with 12.72 seconds.

Later, the 32-year-old scripted history by winning second gold by clocking 53.35 seconds in the disabled men’s 400m IT1 event. Colombia’s Teodicelo (58.95) and Ranchin Mickael (1:00.31) scooped silver and bronze medal respectively.

It should be noted that IT1 event is conducted among ambulant athletes who have single or double below-the-knee amputation or foot to knee damage. The IT4 event is competed among wheelchair contestants who have spinal cord injuries or similar impairment but with full trunk function.

It is worth mentioning here that Gunasekaran is a 2018 National Para Athletics champion in 200m and 400m category. He had also bagged a silver in 400m in the 2017 World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai.

Para-athlete Deepa Malik settles for bronze at Asian Para Games

Describe our Indian athletes in one word? Are you running short of superlatives to praise them? Yes, that’s the same case here.

Every day, Indians are dominating in almost every sport in the ongoing Asian Para Games. More often than not, we hear athletes winning medals for the nation. That’s true.

It’s Deepa Malik’s turn to win a medal in Discuss throw at Asian Para Games. Let’s take a moment to appreciate her for her success. She did her best and made the entire nation proud.

Rio Paralympics medallist Deepa Malik won her second bronze medal at the Asian Para Games. She clinched the bronze in the women’s F51/52/53s discus throw event in Jakarta.

Deepa produced her personal best effort in her fourth attempt, a 9.67-metre throw to bag the third spot. Deepa had previously won a bronze in women’s F 53/54 javelin throw event.

Meet Girisha- Indian athlete who competed with a disability and made the country proud

Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda’s extraordinary story is all the motivation that you need today. His tale is one that needs to be told. Life gave him plenty of challenges but Girisha braved all odds and has steered clear of all the obstacles only to make a statement, inspiring millions of people across the world.

Life was not that easy for Girisha. He was born with a disability in the left leg but that didn’t stop him from conquering whatever he wanted in his life. His dreams came true as he achieved big things in life.

He developed a penchant for long jump, a sport which he truly admired and loved the most. He then started taking part in several tournaments and ended up being successful in all the attempts.

He shot to prominence in the year 2006 when he won a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships for the disabled in Ireland and after 6 long years, he scripted history as he clinched gold medals in athletic meets in Kuwait and Malaysia. This sums up the essential Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda for you!

Ahead of the 2012 Paralympic Games, Girisha quit his secure bank job only to focus on doing well at the world stage. He worked really hard prior to the 2012 Games, and it reaped him rewards in the best way.

Talking about the men’s high jump finals at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, cruising over the 1.74-meter score only in his second attempt, the Karnataka native Girisha Nagarajegowda scripted history by winning a silver medal in the event.

He is continuing to win medals for India and this year too won gold at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Games in Dubai.

Today, Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda is an inspiration to the youths of the nation. His success is indeed a proof of the fact that how to never let the deficits get the better of oneself. His life taught us that setbacks don’t define what you do and become. Never give up is the only way.

Vivek Chikara who lost his leg in an accident wins Asia Para Archery Gold, let’s praise him

Vivek Chikara made the whole nation proud as he won a gold medal in the men’s recurve open event at the Asian Para Archery Championships on Thursday. The 29-year-old champion recorded a 7-1 win over China’s Sijun Wang to bag the top honours.

He lost his left leg in an accident 2 years ago but that didn’t stop him from touching the pinnacle of success. Yes, he is an inspiration to all para-athletes now. From losing his left in an accident to clinching gold at the 2019 Asian Para Archery Championships in Bangkok on Thursday, Vivek Chikara’s life went through a complete turnaround since 2017.

Before that, Vivek literally had no clue about the sport. He was plying his trade for Mahindra & Mahindra and posted in Saharanpur. His elder brother and sister both got married and he used to regularly send cash back home to assist his family in Meerut. It was on New Year’s day, he met with an unfortunate accident.

On the way back to Meerut while riding his bike, a truck hit his vehicle from behind. He was rushed to a hospital and the surgeons said that his left leg had to be amputated from below the knee.

“From sending money back home, now I have to constantly ask for money from my father. I feel ashamed but I’m hopeful the sport can help me in the long run,” the 28-year-old added from Bangkok.

Apart from claiming the top honours in the men’s recurve open event, he had also clinched bronze in the team recurve event. Vivek chose archery as it was the only sport he could play. “Utilising my upper body strength was the aim and archery suited my requirements. I even quit my job as the company wanted me to work over-time while I wanted extra practice hours.”

It is worth mentioning here that the Asian Para Archery Championship is only his 3rd international competition since he started training back in January 2018. Interestingly, he has already qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics after his joint 9th place finish at the World Para Archery Championships.

“I have never seen anybody work this hard. While most archers shoot about 100 arrows, he trains twice a day and shoots no less than 250. Head coach Satyadev Prasad has mentored him and always had faith in his abilities. He picked up the basics in double-quick time,” Udham said while praising Vivek Chikara’s spirit.

Vivek now trains in Sonepat and he wants a job so that he can start taking care of himself. “I called my father first after the victory and he congratulated me and was hopeful of a change in fortunes. I had studied hard and had done well in life before the accident. All I want is to get back to those days and at least start earning. My work ethic has brought me till here.”

“A superb performance from Vivek Chikara as he wins the gold medal in men’s recurve open event at the Asian Para Archery Championships after a 7-1 win over China’s Sijun Wang. Kiren Rijiju congratulates him on the win,” said a tweet from the sports minister’s office.

Story of Blind Indian athlete- who did the whole nation proud by winning a Bronze medal

Janki Goud, a village girl from MP might be visually impaired since birth but she didn’t go into a shell, usually cursing her fate or making lame excuses for her failure in life. She was one who rejuvenated herself by building a better self in all aspects.

She made the whole country proud many times. Her story needs to be shared with everyone and let’s find out how she approached life with a different perspective and went on to touch the pinnacle of success.

For the first time, Janki’s parents were frightened to let Janki step out of the house because of her disability. They were always worried about her safety. For Janki, life didn’t end here. It was just a beginning! She proved the world that there is life and success beyond her disability.

For sure, her inspirational story is worth the weight in gold. Well, what did she do to become a champion? It was in the year 2010 that Sightsavers, as well as NGO partner Tarun Sanskar, looked after Janki. From this moment, life took a U-turn for Janki and since then there has been no looking back for the champion.

Since 2014, she was given the much-needed training in self-defence and Judo. She developed an interest in that field and decided to take the sport very seriously as she participated in National championships. In 2016 and 2017, Janki came through with flying colours as she clinched silver and gold medals respectively at the Fourth and Fifth National Judo Championship for Deaf & Blind.

The outstanding performance at the sport made her one of the 14 contestants to feature for India at the Judo Asian & Oceania Championship held at Tashkent, Uzbekistan from 22nd to 29th May 2017. She also led the team of 14 participants from 5 different states of India. Her astute leadership traits helped the team get the better of Thailand, Korea and Uzbekistan in women’s group competition and won India a Bronze Medal.

Janki’s journey to success didn’t come that easy. Her parents are daily wage labourers and they struggled so much to run the family. But now, Janki’s father is immensely proud of his daughter’s success. He was also congratulated over the phone by CM of Madhya Pradesh, Sri Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Her ultimate goal is to participate in 2020 Paralympics Judo competition and win Gold Medal for India.

The one and only disability in life is ‘Bad Attitude’. This is the message that Janki Goud delivered to the worl

24-year-old para-athlete Niranjan Mukandan wins 5 gold for India in Norway

Niranjan Mukandan is a 24-year-old para-swimmer from Bengaluru who has a condition known as Spina Bifida and clubbed feet by birth has won 5 gold medals at the Norwegian Swimming Championships 2019.

As per Mayo Clinic, ‘Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly.’ And clubfoot is a condition wherein the baby’s foot is twisted out of shape or position.

Rather than being a victim of his birth defects, Niranjan defied all odds and went on to become a swimmer.

As per Bangalore Mirror, he has had 17 surgeries to have both of his legs straightened up which had been twisted because of muscle compression. One of these surgeries took 16 hours long to get operated and the process was carried out when he was 6 years old. Shockingly, 32 metal rods were inserted in his legs during the surgery.

He had to undergo major surgery in December last year and was also put on complete bed rest for over 2 months. “We discovered the (ankle) injury pretty late, which unfortunately delayed the recovery process”, he was quoted to as saying by Bangalore Mirror.

He then wrote a success story for himself as he won 5 medals in the following championships: 200m IM (individual medley), 200m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke.

After proudly winning these medals for India at the Norwegian swimming championships, Niranjan crossed the 50 medals mark in his colourful career.

Niranjan also made the Forbes U30 list recently.

Niranjan had started swimming when he was 8 years old on his doctor’s suggestion to help with his lower body movements.

He started developing an interest in the sport and started to train for some tough competitions. He said, “If I am unable to train due to injury, I visualise myself in the pool swimming. I try not to lose focus and prepare myself mentally.”

As per Bangalore Mirror, Niranjan is a huge Rahul Dravid fan and also thinks of Michael Phelps as his biggest idol.

He is once again on an important mission to secure a gold medal for the country in Paralympics. For winning many competitions in his life, he has been conferred with the National Best Para Sportsperson Award in 2015 by the government of India.

He also received the Eklavya Award in the year 2016 from the Karnataka government for incredible performance in sports and in the same year awarded by the Sports Writer Association of Bangalore.
He also holds the Asian record for timing 03:16:01 in the Para Swimming World Series that was held Berlin in 2018.

Pramod Bhagat, a para-athlete who won back-to-back Golds in Para-Badminton Championships

India’s Pramod Bhagat made a terrific comeback to beat England’s Daniel Bethell and won his third title in the men’s singles SL3 category at the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships in Basel

Interestingly, it was world no.1 Bhagat’s second gold medal in this World Championships having won his men’s doubles SL3-4 title on the penultimate day of the events.In that match, he and his partner Manoj Sarkar came from a match down to outsmart compatriots Nitesh Kumar and Tarun Dhillon 14-21, 21-15, 21-16 in the final.

SL3 category is meant for athletes who have minor standing/lower limb impairment while SL4 is for those players who have severe conditions of SL3.

Overall, India finished with 12 medals, including three gold medals. Though the overall number of medals is the same as in 2015, India won 4 gold back then, making it the best ever show.

Bhagat got the better of himself by bettering his winning record against the Englishman Bethell to 3-1 this season with a 6-21, 21-14, 21-5 scoreline in the final which lasted almost an hour.

Unlike his first match, Bhagat actually relied more on his rallies and half smashes to became the winner in the next two.

Meet Manasi Joshi- A para-athlete who won Gold in Badminton World Championships

Manasi Joshi might have lost her left leg in a road accident in December 2011 in Mumbai but that didn’t stop her from relishing the taste of success. Her clear-cut vision steered her to come through with flying colours as she clinched a gold medal at BWF Para-Badminton World Championships. Earlier, in 2018, she settled for Bronze medal in women’s singles in Thailand Para championship.

The para-badminton player Manasi Joshi also brought home her first gold at the Para World Badminton Championship.

The 30-year old got the better of three-time SL3* world champion Parul Parmar with a dominant score of 21-12, 21-7. She opened her account slowly with 2-7 and then she switched gear to outsmart the opponent. Speaking to the Paralympic Committee of India, Manasi said,

“I have trained extremely hard, training three sessions a day. The focus was on my fitness, so I also lost some weight and gained more muscle. I spent more time in the gym, working six sessions a week.”

Having played para-badminton for four years, Manasi also said that winning the gold is a dream come true moment.

In 2011, Manasi Joshi lost her left leg in an unfortunate accident when she was hit by a truck at a busy junction. She then broke her arms and sustained multiple other injuries in her body.

Also, it took over three hours for Manasi to be shifted to a hospital, and she eventually made it into the operation theatre 10 hours after she encountered an accident. She was in the operating room for twelve hours, and she ended up with an amputated left leg due to gangrene.

In an earlier interview with YourStory, Manasi said, “At the time I was thinking that I have just lost a leg, not an organ. If I can’t run around, it’s okay.”

Manasi Joshi didn’t worry too much about her life. In 2012, she re-learned how to actually walk with a prosthetic limb for around 4 months, and then she took part in an inter-company badminton championship where she had earlier won the gold. This time too, she emerged the winner. Besides playing badminton, she also got trained in scuba diving.

Manasi turned pro in 2014 when she made an attempt for the Para Asian Games. Although she didn’t get selected, she grabbed attention since then as she has won medals at various international matches.

It should be noted that *SL3 is a para-badminton category wherein players are impaired in one or both lower limbs and have poor walking or sprinting balance.

She even confessed that she was never a professional in Badminton but she was able to build a great sense of character and that’s how she went about her business and grew from strength to strength.

“I was never a serious or a professional badminton player, but always played the sport since my school days as my parents believe that sport builds an individual’s character better. Sports taught me so many things in life,” she said.

“It is very nice on part of Gopi and other players like Sindhu to keep my morale high. I am so pleased with the way they keep track of my training and progress,” said Manasi.

Ever since Manasi stepped foot in international events from 2015, she was able to get the best out of herself and she won a silver in mixed doubles in the 2015 Worlds, bronze in 2016 women’s singles, 2017 World championship bronze and a gold in a Spanish international event.

“Well, the biggest challenge for me is society itself. It is sad, that many still treat para-athletes as lesser mortals though things have, of late, changed a lot thanks to the performances by our tribe at the highest level,” said Manasi.

“I firmly believe that para-athletes too are intelligent and knowledgeable and can be role models for young talent given the way they fight adversity to win laurels at the highest level,” said a beaming shuttler. “I hope to come back from Jakarta next month with a gold,” said a confident Manasi.

Despite being paralysed in his left leg, Sharad Kumar still won medals for India

When you believe in yourself, the success rate is easily achievable. Meet the Indian athlete Sharad Kumar. He believed in himself when nobody else did. His story is one that needs to be told to inspire the youths of the nation.

He is an Indian para high jumper by trait and a former world no. 1. When he was 2 years old, he suffered paralysis in his left leg after taking a fake polio medicine drops at a local eradication drive.

Sharad Kumar was born on 1 March 1992 in Patna. He studied at St. Paul’s School in Darjeeling where he started learning the art of high jump in Class 7. He perfected the art of the sport by practising day in day out.

In the process, he went on to break school and district records battling it out against able-bodied athletes. Later he moved to Delhi to study Class 12 at Modern School and graduated in Political Science from Kirori Mal College. He did his Post Graduation in Politics with Specialization in International relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Sharad announced his arrival to the International arena at the 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhou. In January 2012, he jumped 1.64m, which steered him qualify for the 2012 Paralympics. In April 2012, with a high jump of 1.75m at the Malaysian Open Para-athletics championship, he stole the spotlight as he became the world no. 1 at the age of 19.

He grew from strength to strength and it was at the 2014 Asian Para Games where he bagged the gold medal in the high jump by clearing 1.80m, breaking a 12-year Asian Games record and reoccupied the world no. 1 position. Sharad Kumar took part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics where he finished sixth with a personal best of 1.77m.

He started training under Mr. Satyanarayana who is his National Para Athletics Coach since March 2015. He is well backed and supported by GoSports Foundation through the Para Champions Programme. He bagged Silver in 2017 World ParaAthletics Championships with a jump of 1.84m.

Sharad Kumar shattered two records recently to bag a second successive gold in the ongoing Asian Para Games in Jakarta. The 26-year-old world championships silver-medallist outsmarted the Asian with a stellar jump of 1.90m to bag the top honours.

Got paralyzed in childhood, Ekta Bhyan alone defeats UAE and gives India a gold

India once again hit the headlines for all the proud reasons in sports. Thanks to Ekta Bhyan. She did the entire country proud by clinching a gold in club throw in the Asian Para Games. Winning a gold medal didn’t come that easy but her spellbound performance

She won India’s fourth gold medal at the Asian Para Games in the women’s club throw event. She brought the best out of herself with a throw- 16.02m in her fourth attempt clinching the F32/51 event (at the GBK stadium) ahead of UAE’s Alkaabi Thekra, who threw 15.75m. The F32/51 class specifies athletes with significant impairment in hand function.

Competing in the club throw F32/51 event, Ekta did not have the best of starts and it was only after three throws she beat UAE opponent Thekra to clinch gold. Ekta is ranked number one in club throw in Asia.

Ekta Bhyan met with a road accident in 2003 where she picked up a serious injury in her spinal cord which led to paralysis of her lower part of the body. Ekta started playing sport in 2014 so that she can be physically fit. However, her life started to change when she stumbled upon Arjuna Awardee Amit Saroha, another GoSports Para Athlete who motivated and trained her through and through in ‘club throw’ and ‘discus throw’.

Following two operations and several months in rehabilitation turned Ekta stronger than ever before. With tenacity, intensity, grit and determination, she claimed a Silver medal at the IPC Para Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin in 2016.

Ekta’s father is known to be a retired district horticulture officer while her mother is a homemaker. She did her post-graduation in English and currently works for the Haryana Government.

Ekta was recruited to represent India at the 2017 IPC Para Athletics World Championships, by the virtue of his performance (15.3m in Club throw | Rank – 7) (3.46m in Discus throw | Rank – 11) at the Selection Trials held in JLN Stadium in New Delhi this May. Ekta was also selected as a part of the GoSports Foundation’s Para Champions Programme for the year 2017-18 quite recently in June.

EARLIER ACHIEVEMENTS:

2016 turned out to be decent year for Ekta Bhyan where she won Silver medal in women’s club throw and finished fourth in women’s discus throw, IPC Para Athletics Grand Prix, BerlinGold medal in women’s club throw and bronze in women’s discus throw at the 2016, Senior National Para Athletics Championships, Panchkula.

Devendra lost his left hand in electrical accident- but still won Gold medals for India

Devendra didn’t think that his life had finished soon after he lost his hand in an accident. At the very next moment, he still had the winning attitude to make India proud. His incredible story is all the motivation you will need today.

In his childhood age, when Devendra Jhajharia was only 8 years old, he had accidentally touched an electric wire and unfortunately, he suffered a lot of damage. As a result, his left hand had to be amputated. But it is not the end of the road in athletics.

Devendra proved that he is a real fighter. He regained his lost confidence and started to look at life with a fresh and positive perspective and there is no looking back since then- an important stepping stone to success.

In 2002, he bagged gold at the 8th FESPIC Games javelin throw. He displayed sheer skill and threw it despite lacking one arm and proved that he was at a different version altogether.

In 2004, Devendra bagged a gold medal at the Paralympics. But he wasn’t one to settle for the run-of-the-mill. He repeated the same winning formula in 2016 with one more gold to his name.

Devendra also won a gold at the 2013 world championships and a silver in 2015. He had also won silver in the 2014 Asian Para Games.

You don’t need a magic wand to become successful in life and Devendra had the willingness to succeed, the will to do things, the ability to move on and the perseverance to try even where there were failures.

Devendra had all these qualities in himself and he doesn’t have to worry about his career anymore. According to him, the process of betterment can go on and on in life without a stop. His life story should be shared with others.

Story of Naresh Kumar- He suffered from 90% disability but that didn’t stop him from winning in Life

Naresh Kumar Sharma was bedridden not because he met with an accident but he was born in impairment. He wasn’t someone who went into a shell, usually cursing his fate. But instead, he converted his pain into motivation and then went on to make the entire nation proud by representing India in shooting.

Yes, this is called success and his story is one that needs to be told to inspire everyone. Naresh Kumar Sharma braved physical disabilities and managed to find a way to come out on top with grit, determination.

With ‘Never Give Up’ mantra, he is continuing to inspire the youths of the nation. He has also carved out a reputation for himself as one of the extraordinary athletes in India. Naresh’s way of living was not that easy. He struggled with 90% disability. He couldn’t walk like every other normal person but he never let his disability to get the better of him.

He developed a penchant for shooting in 1994. He took up the sport with interest and also to prove a point to himself and others who thought he and other athletes with impairment were not physically able to dream to achieve in sports. Once the decision was taken, there was no looking back since then.

Slowly, shooting turned out to be love. He went on to represent India at the Paralympic Games in 1996 and in following year of 1997, he received the coveted Arjuna Award for his achievements and years of complete dedication in rifle shooting.

Naresh Kumar Sharma has since featured for India at five Paralympic Games. The latest of which came in Rio in the year 2016. In 2008 edition, he came close to a medal finish but fell short by a whisker.

Written by Sagar Abhinandan

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5 Indian athletes who were the first to achieve Success in their respective fields | The Youth Special