Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
From being a BSF personnel to running a grocery shop, Vinod Kumar wins bronze at Tokyo Paralympics
Vinod Kumar had also suffered from Covid earlier in the month of March while he was preparing for the Paralympics
A Super Sunday for the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Paralympics, as it was raining medals for the country with Vinod Kumar winning the third medal of the day. The 41-year-old created history as India won a medal in the discus throw at the Paralympics after 37 years with Joginder Singh Bedi winning the previous medal at the 1984 games. Vinod Kumar's best throw of 19.91m was good enough to secure the bronze medal and in the process also created a new Asian Record.
Competing at his first-ever Paralympic Games, Vinod Kumar's journey to Tokyo is one of grit and determination. Born in Rohtak, Vinod Kumar who is ex-BSF personnel had injured his leg on duty approximately seven months after joining the forces. Vinod had his leg stuck in snow for a long time which led to life-long paralysis in the lower body. After suffering from paralysis, Vinod started to run a grocery store as this was the only way for him to deal with the financial difficulties in his life. He set up the grocery store after loaning some money, which he eventually repaid after three years through the earnings.
In 2016 after watching Deepa Malik compete at the Rio Paralympics, Vinod Kumar was inspired by the Paralympian and decided to take up sports. He soon started training at the SAI facility in Rohtak practicing discus throw. Vinod Kumar made his impact on the international stage in 2019 when he won his first medal in the discus throw, a bronze, at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix 2019 in Paris. He was helped by his sister and Coach Satyanarayana for the event, as he did not have any money at that time.
After the medal in Paris, two months later Vinod Kumar secured qualification for the Tokyo Olympics as well with a throw of 19.29m at the Dubai Championship. However, it wasn't the most straightforward qualification for the athlete due to non-sporting reasons. Vinod Kumar had reached Dubai just a couple of hours before the start of the event due to some documentation issues.
Vinod's preparation for the Tokyo Paralympics was further hampered in March 2021 when he tested positive for Covid and took almost a month for him to recover. However, this did not stop him from competing at the National Championship where he won gold.
Vinod Kumar's performance at the Tokyo Paralympics was really impressive as he did not have any foul throws in his six attempts and his second latest attempt of 19.91m was good enough to secure a bronze medal.