The para-athlete made a world record in the Indian Open National Para Athletics Championships.
In an exclusive chat with para-athlete Yogesh Kathuniya, he opened up on his journey from a B.Com college student to becoming a world record holder. Yogesh won a silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Yogesh Kathuniya, the son of an Army officer, was eight years old when he suffered a paralytic attack that left him with limb coordination issues. Kathuniya stated that he would work harder to secure the gold in the next Paralympics and make his country proud.
Plenty of chances but no finished product
The journey from a B.Com student to a Paralympic silver medalist
Yogesh started his discus throw career in 2017 when he was studying at Kirorimal College, Delhi.
Reminiscing the beginning of his career, Yogesh noted, “I started my journey professionally in 2018 and before that, I was just enjoying my sport and was doing it to stay fit. During one of my events, my friend Sachin suggested that you should start playing discus throw and you must try your hands on it.”
The para-athlete made his international debut in 2018 in Germany. Soon from there on Yogesh had secured direct qualification for the Asian Games where he ranked fourth among some of the best in the business.
Asian Games helped Yogesh realize that if he works even harder, destiny may take him somewhere even he would not have ever thought of. After two years of hard work, Yogesh Kathuniya secured a silver in the Tokyo Paralympics last year for which he also got the Arjuna Award. Yogesh Kathuniya currently holds the World Record In Discuss throw for a throw going as far as 48.34m which he claimed at Indian Open National Para Athletics Championships.
Support from family and SAI
When asked about the support he got to pursue the sport, the world record holder said, ”During my early days, my family hesitated a bit to support me but soon after some time when they realized that I might do something in this sport they all came together to support me.”
Talking about the financial support Yogesh said his sponsor Radiant supported him financially and soon from there on he got into the Sports Authority of India (SAI) where he was also included in the TOPS which is the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
Challenges as a Para Athletic
Yogesh being a star para-athlete also discussed the challenges a para-athlete has to face for their training and facilities. Talking about it he said, “Nowadays challenges are very less as compared to 5-10 years back when there was a lack of infrastructure and facilities for athletes like us. But now I would not say everything is great but yes as far as training facilities are concerned it is quite good and well maintained.”
Yogesh said his main focus is on next year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, and World Championships for which he is yet to qualify. He is also eyeing the podium spot in the 2024 Paris Paralympics for which he has been training hard.
Kathuniya recently opened his athletic academy near Ambala which goes with the name “Yogesh Throwing Academy”. Yogesh went on to say that opening my discus throw academy was one of my dream which I have already fulfilled.
Yogesh’s Advice to young budding athletes
Yogesh gave a message to all the young budding athletes to work hard with all your passion and dedication and don’t quit until you succeed. The Paralympian said, “Usually, kids come and train for one-two year and quit after not getting the desired result but to be successful and achieve something great one must work hard consistently in the sports whether it be athletics or any other.”
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