Tokyo Paralympics: Botched injection resulted in Polio, now para archer Jyoti Baliyan aims for a medal
A botched injection to her leg at a tender age resulted in her getting polio and crushed her Volleyball dream.
Jyoti Baliyan wished to make her father proud and become a professional Volleyball player. But fate had other plans; a botched injection to her leg at a tender age resulted in her getting polio, a lifelong ailment affecting one's legs. Jyoti was born into an agricultural household of Goela Village, Muzaffarnagar, Uttarpradesh. After the turn of fate at just ten years old, Jyothi's dream of becoming a Volleyball player faded into oblivion. When the dream of spiking volleyball at the grandest of stages shattered, the reality of plucking a bowstring settled in.
Jyoti had to pick her morale from the ground up with a nudge from her father as she was hesitant to pick up a new sport. She moved in with her uncle, whose house was closer to the academy. Jyoti felt Archery was not the right sport for her and wanted to go home, but her coach convinced her to give her all at the Nationals just a month away. Surprisingly Jyoti ended up as the champion at the Nationals. It just made sense that the bow was destined to be in Jyoti's hands. Since picking up Archery in 2009, Jyoti has not looked back.
A 9th place finish at the 2014 Asian games was a preview of what was yet to come from Jyoti. She went onto win the 2017 World Para-Archery Championship in Beijing. Jyoti also has won silver in the team event at the 2019 Asian Para Championship. Jyoti, who competes in the compound archery event, booked her spot at the Tokyo Paralympics after finishing 17th at the World Championships held in the Netherlands. Jyoti was also invited to the exclusive seventh Fazza Para Archery Tournament in Dubai for elite archers.
In a recent video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Baliyan discussed overcoming depression after losing her father. When things turned grim for Baliyan financially, District Magistrate IAS Selva Kumari of Etawah district, Uttar Pradesh, had given her a bow worth four lakh rupees to keep her pursuit in Archery alive. Baliyan, 27, is currently ranked 22nd in the open compound and wishes to win India a medal in Tokyo. Baliyan is the only women archer from India who has qualified for an individual event for the Tokyo Paralympics. Baliyan will take the stage in Tokyo with the name of India gleaming on her jersey on the 27th of August. Let's hope the arrow hits the target Jyoti has set for herself and the Nation, and she returns with a medal to show for it.