Bronze medallist judoka Vijay Yadav: A journey from village akhara to CWG podium

Vijay’s passion for Judo earned him a gold medal at Asian Championship -2017 and CCWG-2018.
Vijay Kumar Yadav.
Vijay Kumar Yadav.

LUCKNOW: When passion turns into obsession, success is within your grasp. Ask, Vijay Kumar Yadav, the Judoka who won the bronze medal for India in the under 60 kg weight category at the ongoing Birmingham Commonwealth Games-2022.

His siblings claim that he is a born sportsman. His passion for sports, especially, combat sports, led Vijay to overcome all odds to fulfill his dream.

Coming from a very humble background-- his father Dashrath Yadav is a marginal farmer who was a part-time welder till recently-- Vijay’s passion for his sport is well reflected in the fact that five hours after winning the medal at Birmingham, he took a flight to Kazakhstan via Istanbul to participate in Asian Championship to consolidate his chances for qualifying for Paris Olympic -2024.

“I had spotted Vijay at an inter-school event when he was studying in a government primary school in his village. He was known to me as his uncle and I used to practice wrestling in the same Akhara near our village,” says Kashi Naresh Yadav, the first formal coach of Vijay Yadav. Kashi Naresh, who claims to be as happy as a mother over the achievement of Vijay Yadav, adds that he asked Vijay to accompany him for a better future in sports to which he and his family agreed.

“I took him to Sports Hostel, Gorakhpur, for Judo training where he lived with me like my child for a couple of years,” he says.

Next, he joined the Saharanpur Judo training centre with the help of Kashi Naresh Yadav. In Saharanpur, he stayed in a hostel till 2016 and proceeded to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Lucknow for better exposure to the sport.

“He was in Lucknow sports college till 2020 and then went to the Sports Excellence Centre in Bhopal for advance Judo training,” says Kashi Naresh Yadav.

Moreover, narrating his son’s journey from Akhara of his native village Mahuwaria Sulemanpur, the proud father Dashrath Yadav, basking in the glory of his son’s achievement, falls short of words to express his feelings.

“I can’t express my happiness. It can only be felt. He has brought laurels to this small village and has made the entire nation proud,” says Dashrath Yadav.

“Around 15 years ago, at an age of 10 years, Vijay had started showing his inclination towards wrestling at Akhara by making astonishing moves. He used to accompany his uncle to Akhara and learnt moves of wrestling from Bhola Pahlawan who passed away a few years ago,” adds Dashrath Yadav.

However, with the passage of time, Vijay developed a liking for Judo and started training at a centre in Lalpur in Varanasi, his father recalls.

Vijay’s passion for Judo earned him a gold medal at Asian Championship -2017 and CCWG-2018.

Dashrath Yadav claims that he could not provide any facility to his son due to his meek financial condition. “But his passion for the sport never let our poverty come in his way to achieve his goal,” he adds. Dashrath Yadav takes pride in the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated his son for winning the medal. “I am thankful to the PM,” says Yadav.

Ajai Yadav, army personnel and Vijay’s elder brother reveal that Vijay completed his elementary education at a government primary school in the village but was never much interested in studies. “He is devoted to sports. He is a hero to us. We are thankful to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for imparting training to him,” says Ajai.

Another elder brother Vikas Yadav is a private bus driver and mother Chinta Devi does not get tired of extending her blessing to son Vijay.

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The New Indian Express