Sharad Kumar who made the country proud by winning the bronze medal for India in the Paralympics T63 high jump final has disclosed that he was on the verge of pulling out due to a knee problem.
The 29-year-old young athlete from Patna, who jumped 1.83 m to win the bronze medal revealed that he had suffered meniscus dislocation, a type of knee injury, on Monday and wept through the night.
The athlete was about to withdraw his name from Paralympics T42 high jump final due to the injury, but then decided to battle all odds to win the medal despite the injury.
The athlete said that he had dialled his family back in India and read the Bhagavad Gita a night before the event which helped him overcome the anxiety for a bronze-winning effort.
Sharad, while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference organised by Eurosport, said, “It was very bad for me, I was crying the whole night. The fact that I landed on my meniscus, and that was dislocated. I did not even think that I will be able to participate, I spoke to my parents in the morning saying it is done and I am being punished for some sin that I have done. I do not know what it is, that is when my brother and few friends told me just go and participate, it does not matter.”
“I felt great to have won a bronze because I had an injury on my leg (sustained during training on Monday), my meniscus dislocated last night. I the cried whole night and thought of pulling out of the event. I spoke to my family back home (last night) and my father asked me to read Bhagavad Gita and focus on what I can do and not on what I have no control over,” said Sharad Kumar.
“So, I put the injury aside but every jump I took was a war. The medal is the icing on the cake,” added the young athlete who is an alumnus of Delhi’s Modern School and Kirorimal College. Kumar is also a post-graduate in International Relations from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
When asked how difficult it was to compete in the rain, Sharad said,”Competing in high jump in those conditions is very 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 saying that we might have to call it off. But the American guys had spikes for both the legs, that did not add to our support and the competition went on.”
The high jumper also lauded the support Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government that gave him to ensure he is best prepared for the quadrennial event.
Kumar is a double Asian Para Games (2014 and 2018) high jump champion and world silver medallist (2019) and had trained for three years in Ukraine from 2017 to prepare for the Paralympics.
India’s medal count on Tuesday stood at 10, hitting the double-digit mark for the first time ever, with two gold, five silver, and three bronze medals at the end of day 7.