4 years after an unfortunate accident, archer Vivek Chikara readies for Tokyo Paralympics
Tokyo Paralympics medal hopeful, Vivek, was returning home to Meerut for New Year in 2017 when he met with a life-changing accident .
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what if the lemons are as sour as they get? Vivek Chikara got those lemons when everything in his life was going as planned. Vivek led a cliched MBA life, a senior executive at a private firm, check, and about to marry his long-term girlfriend.
But life had other plans that eventful night on 1st January 2017, when Vivek returned home to Meerut from Saharanpur to celebrate New Year with his family. His motorcycle got hit by a speeding truck, and Vivek was rushed to the hospital. Doctors had to amputate his left leg below the knee as they felt the damage was irreparable.
Such a tragedy would turn anyone's life upside down. However, archery gave Vivek comfort, solace and meaning during these difficult times. He was introduced to the sport by Satyadev Prasad, who competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Vivek found his missing pieces, the bow and arrow, which became inseparable to him.
Vivek will now step onto the biggest stage of his career at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. He secured his berth at the Paralympics with a joint 9th finish in recurve at the World Para Championships in the Netherlands.
Vivek won gold at Bangkok's 2019 Asian Para Archery Championships, and he competes standing on his prosthetic leg. He defeated China's Sijun Wang 7-1 in the final to climb the top of the podium.
"Who says I am disabled? I never allowed it to become a hindrance, and this medal is proof of that. This medal will allow me to work harder towards achieving the ultimate goal of winning gold at the Tokyo Paralympics. I believe with a little help from the government in terms of funding, I can surely do better," he said to Times of India in an interview after his emphatic win in Bangkok.
Vivek was refused help from the government regarding funding for diet, equipment, travel etc., which he currently pays for out of his pocket. Archery is, however, an expensive sport without any external funding; Vivek spent lakhs for the same.
Vivek had to quit his job with a heavy heart as his company did not compromise on the working hours, which he could not meet given his situation.
"I was bed-ridden for four months and wondering about my future when I saw a newspaper advertisement one day, which said interested sportspersons could join the Gurukul Prabhat Academy in Meerut," Vivek had said after his Asian Para Archery Championships gold.
Despite picking up Para-archery late in his career, Vivek Chikara's rise to the top has been monumental. He will join Harvinder Singh as India's only men's recurve archer in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.