CHENNAI: Mother Pushpa Devi looked in horror as her eight-year-old son Nishad Kumar’s right hand got dismembered by a grass-cutting machine in their farm almost 13 years ago in Amb town of Una district, Himachal Pradesh. Being a former national-level volleyball player herself, her dream was to see her son take up sports at the highest-level, before it came crashing down many moons ago. Devi still remembers how her son was lying unconscious in a pool of blood with his limb cut off from the elbow.
While it did cut short Devi’s dreams for the time being, it seldom stopped her from ensuring Nishad played some sport or the other. That faith and determination eventually yielded a high jump silver medal in the T47 category for India at the Tokyo Paralympics on Sunday, August 29, incidentally celebrated as National Sports Day. The 21-year-old cleared 2.06 m setting an Asian record to finish joint-second with American Dallas Wise. USA’s Roderick Townsend clinched the gold with a world record jump of 2.15 m.
“My mother was alone on the field that fateful day. She, however, didn’t lose heart. In fact, she was so determined to make him a sportsperson that my brother started competing a barely year after that accident,” Rama Devi, Nishad’s sister, told this daily.
Nishad even competed against able-bodied athletes in the 2017 School Nationals. In the same year, he shifted to Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula, Chandigarh to hone his skills. He won bronze in the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai with a jump of 2 m to secure a Paralympic quota.
“He was confident of winning a medal. Even in the morning when I spoke to him, I was nervous but he assured me not to worry,” informed the sister. Nishad twice returned Covid-19 positive earlier this year but continued improving his show by setting his personal best on two occasions, the second one of 2.07 m came at the trials.
One more medal
India celebrated the National Sports Day with one more medal at Paralympics. Bhavinaben Patel settled for silver after losing the table tennis final. Discus thrower Vinod Kumar bagged bronze in the men’s
F52 event but it was put on hold