Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Incredible Paralympics

The glamorous and high performance Olympics is over. But don't forget, the equally incredible Para Olympics or Paralympics is underway.

When I watched the Chinese girl Lu Dong getting ready to start the women's swimming finals, biting a towel at the start as she has no hands, I got a bit emotional. It was incredible to see this girl without hands beat others who have hands and win gold!
The incredible Lu Dong. {Source: deltatre.com}

That was 5 days ago.

Yesterday, history was made from Indian perspective. A 24 year old poor village boy from Karnataka, made India proud by winning India's first ever Paralympics High Jump medal!!

Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda won India's first medal in the London 2012 Paralympics, a silver, with a leg like this..
Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda. {Source: Daylife}

Girisha delivering his Silver winning jump.{Source: Jagran}
Here's the video of Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda winning silver for India at London paraolympics. Will get tears in your eyes, not just for him, but for all contestants for what they endure overcoming all odd.

It was a shame that no Indian TV covered live when Girisha won Silver. Paralympics is not something that any commercial channel would cover, at least in today's sports situation. His personal best was 1.60 at big events, but cleared 1.74 meters.

Do also read the entire interview of Girisha HN , before his Silver expedition at the Paralympics. Kudos to ING Vysya & Samarthanam NGO for supporting this village boy. Of course, he thanks Sahana Kumari, a high jumper from his own state who missed a medal in 2012 Olympics, but did wonderfully well to guide Girisha to win a medal!
How are you training and preparing for the event?
Girisha showing his Silver proudly. {Source: GettyImages}
GHN: I have been training here in Bangalore right from March, learning techniques under the guidance of coach Satyanarayana of Karnataka Athletics Association, Nikitin, a Ukrainian trainer employed with Sports Authority of India and Olympics-qualified high-jumper Sahana Kumari.
 How did you get to where you are, what was the qualification process like?
GHN: I come from a very poor family, from a village in Karnataka. Between 2008 and 2010 I was not able to take part in sports. Then I underwent the soft skills and BPO training at Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. That turned things around for me. I was recruited by ING Vysya Bank. I worked at the bank. In 2012, I was in Kuwait for the Paralympics qualifier, with the Rs. 80,000 sponsorship from ING Vysya. I won a gold medal and qualified for the Paralympics. It was a dream come true for me, like attaining the fruit of penance.
I am one of the five athletes from all over India who qualified, and the only one from the south. I topped in the trials. I had to give up my job for the Paralympics training since it was not possible to take more than a 2-month break, and I was required to be away for six months. But I feel like I am a sportsman today. The outcome is secondary; I feel I have achieved something regardless. I hope this will be an example to others.
Indeed, he has set an example that will motivate thousands like him in the coming years.

Come.. Let's congratulate Girisha for creating history yesterday!