TOKYO: A five-member Paralympic archery contingent looks set for their best show possible in their first Paralympic Games. Indian culture is relatively young and originated in the 90s, with Rakesh Kumar being the only slightly older born in 1985.
Harvinder Singh, Jyoti Balyan, Shyam Sundar and Vivek Chikara are bursting with passion ahead of their event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
While Harvinder and Vivek will compete in the men’s recurve events, Jyoti, Rakesh and Shyam Sundar will be in action in their respective compound events.
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 bunch at 24, trained at the SAI center in Sonepat under coach Anil Joshi.
The Rajasthan-based compound para-archer enters the Tokyo Paralympic Games after winning 2 silver medals in the individual and mixed team events at the world ranking tournament, FAZZA Cup, Dubai 2021. Shyam Sundar became 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 draw the bowstring.
Uttar Pradesh-based Jyoti Balyan, 27, just like Shyam Sundar, won 2 silver medals in Dubai earlier this year. She comes from a humble background. Her late father was a farmer and her mother was a housewife.
She received a bad injection in her leg at a very young age, which caused her to suffer from polio all her life. Jyoti and Rakesh Kumar both train under Kuldeep Kumar at the Shri Vaishno Devi Sports Complex in Katra, Jammu.
Rakesh, from Jammu and Kashmir, won a gold medal in Dubai earlier this year in the individual event. He had an accident in 2010 and both his legs became paralyzed. He has been in a wheelchair ever since.
Harvinder-based recurve archer Singh is a gold medalist at the Men’s Individual Recurve Open at the 2018 Asian Paralympic Games.
At the age of one and a half, he fell ill from dengue fever, after which he was given an injection which had an adverse effect and Singh’s legs stopped working properly.
However, Harvinder became interested in archery in 2012 while watching archery matches at the London Olympics on TV and joined the archery field the next day.
Vivek Chikara, meanwhile, an individual gold medalist at the 2019 Thailand Para-Asian Championship, graduated with an MBA in Retail Management in 2015 and also worked as an executive at Mahindra & Mahindra.
In 2017, he had a truck accident in which he lost his left leg below the knee. The archery event begins at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on August 27.