Bronze medalist Sharad Kumar was deflated and dejected a night before competing at the Paralympics T42 high jump owing to an acute problem in his knee. He was even contemplating pulling out his name from the competition but a phone call to his family and reading Bhagwad Gita helped him allay his apprehensions and participate in the event.
Kumar had suffered meniscus dislocation, a type of knee injury, on Monday and cried all night over the anxiety of not being able to participate in the competition. But he ultimately took part in the event and jumped 1.83 metres to win a bronze medal for the country.
Just as at Rio 2016, #IND have 2️⃣ athletes in the podium places in Men’s High Jump T63 Final! 🔥🔥— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) August 31, 2021
Mariyappan Thangavelu and Sharad Kumar have won #silver and #bronze medals respectively, taking 🇮🇳’s medal tally into double figures! 😍#Tokyo2020 #Paralympics #ParaAthletics pic.twitter.com/HSadcK8Nnt
“I felt accomplished to have won a bronze for the country because I had suffered an injury on my leg during training on Monday. My meniscus was dislocated last night. I the cried whole night and thought of pulling out of the event,” Kumar said after the event.
After coming third in the competition, Kumar reminisced how talking with his family a night before the event and reading Bhagavad Gita instilled the lost confidence in him to give his best in the next day’s event.
“I spoke to my family and my father told me to read Bhagavad Gita and focus on the variables that are under my control and forget about those over which I can have no control,” said the 29-year-old athlete from Patna, who suffered paralysis of his left leg after being administered a spurious polio drug during a local eradication campaign at the age of two.
“So I forgot about my injury and considered each jump as a war. The medal is the icing on the cake,” Kumar said.
Kumar, a double Asian Para Games (2014 and 2018) high jump champion and world silver medallist (2019), said it was a difficult situation for him during the event as he had to give his best as well as bear in his mind that his jump does not have an adverse impact on his already injured knee.
“I was two tasks at the same time—jumping as well as trying to keep my knee secure. And that amidst a ferocious downpour,” Kumar remembered.
When asked how hard it is to compete in the rain, Kumar said, “Competing in the high jump in rainy conditions is incredibly difficult for us. We have one leg to balance ourselves and we wear spikes on the other leg. I tried to speak to the officials, persuading them to call off the event. But the Americans had spikes for both the legs, this did not help us in our argument and the competition continued as per schedule.”