Any player competing at the world level hopes to win a medal for his country, IAS officer Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj, who will be representing India in Para-Badminton at the Tokyo Paralympics, said here on Saturday.
Suhas, who is posted as the District Magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar adjoining Delhi in western Uttar Pradesh, is currently ranked third in the world in his category, according to officials.
The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2007 batch has been busy fighting the Covid pandemic since joining his current bureaucratic role in April 2020 but hopes to clinch a medal and make the country proud at the world event starting August 24.
He said the Tokyo event is no doubt going to be a challenge. Being world number three, his own berth at the highly competitive event was unsure until recently. "Over the years, we have seen that small margins make the difference between winners and losers. I have lost games with a margin of millimeters and won by centimeters. When I compete in Tokyo, I know every player will be there hoping to win a medal."
Suhas (38) told reporters. "I believe in the teachings of Bhagvat Geeta. Do your deed and you will get the results. I am not putting myself under any pressure. If God has brought me to this level, then I am going to put in all my efforts," he said.
"As far as the medal is concerned, being world number three, it is obvious to hope for a medal. But again, as it is said, you do your duty, the result is destiny," the shuttler said. On managing the dual roles of being a district magistrate and a professional badminton player, Karnataka-born Suhas said passion and love for any activity have helped him keep a balance.
Over the last one-and-a-half-year, he said he practiced and trained himself in badminton at nights after work in view of the Covid situation.
Suhas, who has previously worked as the district magistrate in around half a dozen districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Allahabad and Azamgarh, and competed in national and international events, called on parents to encourage their differently-abled children for sports.
"Generally, we hesitate in encouraging children. Whatever I am today is because of my parents, who have told me to pursue whatever I want. The journey is not going to be easy but one must make the effort," he said.
"I want to appeal to all parents, especially those who have Divyang, son or daughter, to please encourage their children for sports and fill them with confidence that they can achieve anything if they make an effort. There would be wins and losses but they can achieve anything," he added.