CHENNAI: Abhishek Chamoli was pillion-riding with his friend when the duo met with a serious road accident in New Delhi six years ago. His friend died on the spot while Abhishek was left bedridden with a severe injury to his spinal cord.
Three years had gone by but Abhishek's miseries continued. Already 21 by then, Abhishek decided to take up sports to make a fresh start in life and met coach Hukam Singh Rawat. Abhishek's father died in his childhood. His mother is a physical education teacher and she was advised by her colleagues to enroll her ward in para-sports.
"The accident meant he was completely paralysed below the chest. When I met him in early 2020, he was too weak but looked determined to carve a niche for himself," coach Rawat told The New Indian Express.
However, the pandemic led to a nationwide lockdown soon and the training got affected badly. "The lockdown disrupted things but still we stayed in touch. We trained at the Chhatrasal Stadium intermittently and once normalcy was restored, intensive training began."
The wheelchair-bound Abhishek then competed in the 3rd Indian Open National Para-Athletics Championships-2021 held in December in Bengaluru and won bronze in shot put and silver in discus throw in the F53 class. The show helped him book a place in the Indian team for the 13th Fazza International Para Athletics Championships held in Dubai from March 21 to 24.
"Following the classification process in Dubai, he was awarded F54 class. The new class meant he didn't win medals there but the target is the 2022 Para-Asian Games and I am hopeful he will not only qualify for it but also win medals there," asserted the coach.
The F54 is for athletes, who have full power and movements in their arms, but no power in their abdominal muscles and typically no sitting balance.
Although Abhishek bagged medals in shot put and discus throw in the open nationals, the coach believes javelin will be his pet event in the months to come.
"Javelin can be his event as he can excel in that discipline. The class has changed so I am not expecting medals here. If they come it's good but we will now shift our focus to Para-Asian Games. He needs to adjust to the new class and I am hopeful he will be trained enough for it once the trials come for the continental event," signed off Rawat.