A five-member archery contingent looks set for their best possible show at their debut Paralympics. The Indian crop is relatively young and born in the 90s, with Rakesh Kumar being the only slightly elder one – born in 1985. The likes of Harvinder Singh, Jyoti Balyan, Shyam Sundar and Vivek Chikara are brimming with passion ahead of their event in the Tokyo Paralympics.
While Harvinder and Vivek will participate in the Men’s Recurve events, Jyoti, Rakesh and Shyam Sundar will be in action in their respective Compound events. The Compound archers will also participate in the Mixed Team event. They are all part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
Shyam Sundar, the youngest of the lot at 24, has been training at the SAI center in Sonepat under coach Anil Joshi. The Rajasthan-based Compound para archer enters the Tokyo Paralympics on the back of 2 silver medals in Individual and Mixed Team events at the World Ranking Tournament, FAZZA Cup, Dubai 2021. Shyam Sundar has become the first para archer from Rajasthan to qualify for the Paralympic Games. One of his limbs is paralyzed because of which he uses his teeth to pull the bowstring.
Uttar Pradesh-based Jyoti Balyan, 27, also like Shyam Sundar, bagged 2 silver medals in Dubai earlier this year. She comes from a humble background. Her late father was a farmer and her mother is a homemaker. She was given a wrong injection in her leg at a very young age that resulted in her suffering from life-long polio. Jyoti and Rakesh Kumar both train under Kuldeep Kumar at the Shri Vaishno Devi Sports Complex in Katra, Jammu. Rakesh, hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, won a gold medal in Dubai earlier this year in the individual event. He met with an accident in 2010 and both his legs got paralyzed. Since then, he has been in a wheelchair.
Haryana-based Recurve archer Harvinder Singh is a gold medallist in the Men’s Individual Recurve Open at the Asian Para Games 2018. At the age of one and a half, he fell ill due to dengue fever after which he was administered with an injection that had an adverse effect and Singh’s legs stopped functioning properly. However, Harvinder took interest in archery in 2012 while watching archery matches in London Olympics on television and joined the archery range the very next day.
Vivek Chikara, meanwhile, an individual gold medallist at the Para Asian Championship, Thailand 2019, has done MBA in retail management in the year 2015 and has also worked as an executive in Mahindra & Mahindra. In 2017 he met with a truck accident following which he lost his left leg below the knee. Archery event starts at the Tokyo Paralympics starts on August 27.
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