How Pragati Choudhary fought brain haemorrhage and led India in Archery World Cup
A look into the story of teenage archer Pragati Choudhary, who fought against all-odds and made a comeback to represent India.
Pragati Choudhary is an archer from Delhi who was just 16-years-old when everything was going right for her. She had won three medals in the International Solidary Archery, won gold medals in both CBSE and the School Games Federation of India tournament and was also part of the Khelo India Youth Games.
On 5 May 2020, the 16-years-old suffered a traumatic stroke to her brain. She was operated in the hospital, and she went into a coma after the operation. She needed continuous treatment for brain haemorrhage, and it was challenging for her family to deal with the medical expenses. She had an insurance policy of Rs. 5 lakhs, which is given to all Khelo India-supported athletes, but this was never going to be enough for her treatment.
The archer's father, Atul Kumar, said he doesn't have the financial backup to afford the required treatment, and so he decided to apply for financial assistance from the sports ministry and also requested sports secretary Ravi Mittal to help him with the treatment. Archery Association of India (AAI) President Arjun Munda also joined him, pleading with the sports ministry to help her with expenses. Quickly reacting to the situation, the sports ministry of India came up with assistance, and her father also sold his stationery shop for the treatment.
The 16-years-old underwent multiple operations, and in the month of June, she came out of a coma, and it was even difficult for her to recognise herself. Her father, Atul Kumar, was very determined to see her daughter back in action. He recalled photos of her competing, winning and her international debut at the 2019 World Archery Youth championship.
Initially, she was struggling to shoot an arrow, but with some regular training she made a comeback at India's team trial for Archery World cup 2021. The compound archer made the cut to the world cup team when she finished third in the trials held at SAI Sonipet. She was selected to represent the Indian team in World Cup stage 1 in Gautemala city and stage 3 in Paris. The third stage of the Archery World cup starts with qualifications on June 22 in Paris.