CHENNAI: For Navdeep, who is around 4 feet 4 inches, a sport like javelin throw wherein the size of the spear is at least 2.2 metres (around 7.21 feet) don't fit the bill. Even Navdeep was apprehensive when he decided to take up the sport back in 2017 after watching para javelin thrower Sandeep Chaudhary in action.
But everything fell in place as Chaudhary's guidance and hard work put in by the 20-year-old from Haryana helped him secure the Tokyo Paralympics quota earlier this year. And come September 4, Navdeep will now target to better his personal best of 43.78m in F41 category for a podium finish in his maiden Paralympics.
"The spear was big when I first saw javelin throwers practising during competitions. I met Sandeep bhaiya in one such event for the first time and we became friends later. When I decided to pursue the sport, he trained me and helped me in ironing out all the flaws," Navdeep told this daily from New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
However, things were not easy when he first started training especially because of his short stature. "The spear used to touch the ground when I used to bend backward to throw it. It took time for me to learn things. After getting Sandeep bhaiya's advice, I changed my technique as well. I used to bend my wrist because of which the spear used to touch the ground. I started keeping it above the normal just parallel to the straight arm," added Navdeep.
He might be the country's medal hope in the 2020 Paralympics but he didn't want to be a javelin thrower in the beginning. In fact, Navdeep was a freestyle wrestler wanting to help his father Dalbir Singh realise his dreams. "I grew up in Buana Lakhu village, which is around 20 km from Panipat. Our village has produced several wrestlers and my father was among them. He won medals in nationals and wanted me to wrestle as he couldn't pursue his passion. I also won a medal at state level event but a back injury sustained during training forced me to give up the sport within four years."
Navdeep produced a brilliant throw of 43.58 m at the 12th Fazza International World Para Athletics Grand Prix earlier this year to book his Tokyo ticket. He is World No 3 in his category. He, however, believes all these things will not matter and it will all boil down to one good throw on that particular day. "We have been training in a bio-bubble for the past 7-8 months. I am leaving no stone unturned but the day matters. I hope it turns out to be my day," signed off Navdeep.