New Delhi | Talibuddin Khan: Sundar Singh Gurjar made India proud in the recently-concluded Tokyo 2020 Paralympics by winning a bronze medal in the men's javelin F46 event. With the bronze medal in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, the 25-year-old javelin thrower offloaded the unsettling weight of failure he was carrying on his shoulders for the last five years after he missed out on a roll call by a mere 52 seconds that led to his disqualification from the Rio 2016 Paralympics, ending his desire to win a medal at the marquee event. He claims that when he was warming up he did not understand when his name was called to attend the registration desk. By the time he arrived at registration, it was too late and he was disqualified from the event.

Born in the Karauli district of Rajasthan, Sundar Singh Gurjar started his career in sports in 2009 with shot put. He used to compete in the general category till 2015 but destiny led him to an unfortunate accident that left him with a lifetime impairment. Gurjar met with an accident in 2015 while he was fixing a tin shade at his friends' house. When he was picking up a tin shade, someone else holding it dropped the heavy tin shade on Gurjar's hand and that led to the amputation of his left wrist.

However, Gurjar overcame the trauma of the accident and started practising under his coach Mahavir Saini. He got his confidence back as he started training and consequently started winning medals. The biggest moment in his life came in London where he won a gold medal at the World Athletics Para Championships.

He created a national record with 68.42m during the 16th Para Athletics National Championship in Panchkula. In the 9th FAZZA IPC Athletics Grand Prix, Sundar Singh Gurjar won 3 Gold Medals in 3 Events -Javelin Throw, Shot Put and Discus Throw. He also won a silver medal in javelin throw and a bronze medal in discus throw in Asian Para Games 2018. In 2019, he won a gold medal at the 9th World Para Athletics Championships.

During an event organised by Hitachi, who sponsored 10 Paralympians under their initiative ‘Radiant in Quest of Gold’, Jagran English caught up with the star Paralympian Sundar Singh Gurjar for a whirlwind chat during which he highlighted how his coach helped him navigate through the depressing phase of life after his accident and made him believe in his capabilities to overcome the odds.

Here are some excerpts from the Jagran English Exclusive with Sundar Singh Gurjar:

Q: Tell us about your journey, from the starting phase of your preparations for the Tokyo Paralympics to the celebratory phase after winning the medal?

A: Life is a roller coaster ride. Like it is said that even the mother feeds her child when he cries, nothing in life comes just by sitting and wishing. You have to stand up and work hard towards your dreams. After missing Rio Paralympics 5 years back, I was devastated but all praise to my coach who stood by me and make me believe that I can still make my nation proud. I am extremely elated to have won a medal in the Tokyo Paralympics and it's like a dream come true for me especially after missing the Rio Paralympics.

Q: How you overcame that phase of your life after your accident? What were your thoughts and how you got inspired to stand up again to make the nation proud?

A: Just after my accident, I was shattered and started thinking about my future. But my coach Mahavir Saini stood by me and boosted my confidence by training me. However, after the disqualification in Rio, I was disheartened and felt like my career ended without even starting. However, the support I received from my family and my coach made me stronger and I started winning medals. A year after the Rio disaster, I won a Gold Medal in London at the World Athletics Para Championship, which boosted me with confidence. Since then, the bronze medal in Tokyo Paralympics is my seventh medal and I am now focussing on Asian Games and World Championship in 2022.

Q: Do you think your's and Neeraj Chopra's and Sumit Antil's win in Javelin Throw can make a difference in India for athletics?

A: Yes, for sure, it will make a very big difference and the changes can be seen in society right now. Earlier, everyone was only interested in Cricket but now with Neeraj's, mine, and Sumit's win in the Olympics and Paralympics, the whole nation started knowing about the javelin throw contest. At the world level also, Indians are now known everywhere. Surely, if players continue to perform well, the javelin will be the new trendsetter.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan