MYSURU: It’s 4 in the evening. A 30-year-old man in a wheelchair comes out of his house and takes ad 1.2 km-long ride to the nearest public park. After a 10-minute-ride, he reaches the park. His wife assists him by locking the wheelchair brakes, moving the footrests out of the way of his feet and putting the armrest on the side. He then takes out a wooden club from his bag and throws it from the sitting position. His wife picks it up and gives it back to him. He again makes the farthest throw…
Anantha Rao B, a former national-level gymnast, is defying all odds to make a return to the sports field after being involved in an accident which left him paralysed. He has bagged over 100 medals at the state, south zone and National level gymnastic events.In 2010, while he was doing a somersault at the Mysuru Dasara games, he landed on his neck which injured his spinal cord and made him immobile.
Nine years after this incident, he is now trying to achieve something in the field of Para Sports. He is preparing to compete in the Club throw -- a sport which is currently practised only by athletes with disabilities.Following the tragic incident in 2010, doctors found that Anantha’s spine was shattered. He underwent treatment in a hospital for nearly two years but showed no improvement. That’s when the doctors of HCG Foundation came to his rescue. In an attempt to regenerate the cells in his spinal cord, a team led by Dr Ajay Kumar gave Ananth stem cell therapy and injections.
This helped him sit – he was bedridden for two years. In 2014, he approached Ayurvedic therapist Chandraprabha who suggested new treatments. They both fell in love and got married. Chandraprabha became his support system. Anantha who always kept himself busy in the sports field was missing something and he became interested in video editing, VFX making. He spent hours browsing and watching video tutorials on VFX and started acquiring editing skills.
During this period he browsed about various para-athletes, their achievements and how they set their goals. He then became determined to pursue sports and shine. In the meantime, Satyanarayana, National Para Athletics coach, appealed to him to take part in a Para Sports event like Club throw.
Ananth, who was not ready to let fate have the final say, started learning the skills of Club throw. Over the past one year, he has been practising this track and field event. To improve his throwing skills, he ordered a wooden club, weighing around 400 gm, from the United Kingdom as they are not found in India. Every day he and his wife visit the nearby park, spend an hour practising the Club throw. His wife helps in getting his throw measures and picks up the club and gives it back to him.
When he initially started throwing clubs he could throw it to a distance of just 9.75 m. But after a few months of practice, he can throw up to 16 m. Last year, he participated in the 18th National Para Athletics championship held in Haryana. Though he did not bag a medal, it gave him a great learning experience, he says. He is hoping to participate in an international Para Sports event this year.
Anantha’s wife Chandraprabha says, “He has the passion for the sports. I can sense the improvements in his throw and there is a meteoric rise compared to his initial days. He possesses great confidence. What he needs now is a good trainer and coach who can train him and suggest some good techniques.”
FINANCIAL CRUNCH Anantha receives
Rs 3,000 as pension from the government. His father, an auto driver who stood by him, passed away three years ago. Though a few individuals and organisations had provided funds in the past, he needs financial support to continue his passion.