CHENNAI: Till he was nine, Yogesh Kathuniya was like any normal child of his age. He was studying at Army Public School in Chandigarh where his father Gyanchand Kathuniya was posted with the Army. But then he suffered a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome causing quadriparesis (a condition in which the affected person has muscle weakness in all four limbs).
It confined Yogesh, in 2006, to a wheelchair with physiotherapy only the option. His mother Meena Devi decided to learn physiotherapy to ensure her son stands on his feet sooner than later. The move paid rich dividends as Yogesh started walking within three years. "I can never repay the support I got from my family, especially my mother who learned physiotherapy so that I could regain muscle strength," Yogesh told this daily from Tokyo. He had qualified for the Paralympics by winning bronze in the F56 category at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.
But Yogesh turned his attention to para sports only in 2017. "Sachin Yadav was general secretary of the students' union at Kirori Mal College in New Delhi where I was pursuing B.Com. He encouraged me to take up a sport and motivated me by showing videos of para athletes. Somehow I got a liking for discus throw and decided to give it a try."
Yogesh achieved success the very next year as he set a world record in the F36 category by hurling the disc to 45.18m at the Para Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin before making the Paralympics cut.
"The world record made me confident and also silenced doubters who claimed I will take years to make a mark." He registered his personal best of 45.58m during the trials held in Delhi a couple of months ago making him a medal contender at the Paralympics. "The Paralympic record is 45.33m while the world record is 46.68m and I am throwing consistently between 45m and 46m. Throwers from Brazil, Cuba and Iran will be my main competitors and I hope I will be able to match them in the competition," said Yogesh.
Swimmer Suyash to miss one event due to illness
Meanwhile, Indian swimmer Suyash Jadhav will miss Friday's 200m individual medley SM7 event due to sore throat and weakness. "Today morning, Mr Suyash Jadhav complained of cough, sore throat and severe weakness. The athlete is being tested daily for Covid and all his reports thus far are negative. Although he won't be able to compete in tomorrow's event, he is expected to recover in time for the events on September 1 and 3," said Dr Ameya Kagali, chief team physician, in a statement.