Nishad Kumar won the silver medal in Men's T47 High Jump at the Tokyo Paralympics with a leap of 2.06m on Sunday. The 21-year-old became only the fourth Indian high jumper to win a Paralympic medal when he achieved the feat.
Soon after arriving back in India, Nishad talked about his campaign in Tokyo in an exclusive conversation with The Bridge.
"It was a great experience of competing head-to-head with the athletes from the USA. One had a best 2.10 and another had 2.14. My personal best was 2.06. I was quite confident and I made a 2.06 jump. I am satisfied with the result and by winning a medal for my country," said a very calm Nishad.
The Himachal lad mentioned that he could not believe that he had won a medal and had confirmed the same with the officials at least four times.
"My focus was not on the medal but it was on the jump. My target was to put up my best show in Tokyo. And that is what I did exactly. I had trained myself quite well for the Paralympics but I couldn't believe that I won the silver. I asked one of the officials at least four times to confirm that I have won a medal. The thing with me is that I never get nervous during any competition and it really helps," he chuckles.
The silver medallist was also quite visibly excited about the kind of reception he received on his arrival back in India.
"I haven't met my family members yet. I will be going home on Friday and meet them. It was a remarkable moment while I flew back to Delhi. Everyone at the airport cheered for me. I never felt this special. There were CRPF guards around me. This was the first time something of this sort was happening."
Every mother in the world would wish for her child to win the biggest possible laurels, Nishad's mom was no different.
"I spoke to my mother over the phone. She was very happy and told me that she saw me performing. She wanted me to win the gold medal, but I could not do it for her and so I cried for at least 30-40 mins after that call," a very emotional Nishad mentioned.
The high jumper also quickly underlined the impact his coach, Satyanarayana, has had on him soon after talking about his mother.
"I met Satyanarayana sir in 2018 and has been training under him since then at the Sports Authority of India training centre in Bangalore. He takes care of me like his son and was happy that I won a silver on my Paralympics debut. He has helped me improve a lot," he said.
When asked for his future plans, Nishad Kumar stated that he is yet to think about it.
"I do not know what I am going to do now. I just want to go home, spend some time there and then decide the future course of action."