Legs adversely affected by an injection, archer Harvinder Singh aims gold at Tokyo Paralympics
An injection administered by a local doctor for dengue affected Harvinder Singh adversely and he could not move his legs.
The Tokyo Olympics has been disappointing for the Indian archers after they failed to hit the mark and returned home without a medal. However, Para-archers like Harvinder Singh look set to shine at the Tokyo Paralympics against the challenges thrown by the pandemic. Harvinder booked his spot in Tokyo for the individual recurve event with a joint 9th finish at the World Para-Archery Championships, the Netherlands, in 2020. He will be competing in the W2/ST category, now just known as the open category in Para-archery.
At a tender age of one and a half years, Harvinder fell ill due to dengue. Harvinder's parents rushed him to a local doctor who administered an injection that severely affected him, and soon he could not move his legs properly.
"I accepted my fate because if I'm happy, then I do not need more treatment. I told my parents that I do not need more treatment, I am okay, and I accept my disability," Harvinder told Paralympic.org in an interview.
Harvinder's life went on, and he enrolled at the university, where he saw the archers train for the first time. A broadcast of the 2012 London Paralympics changed Harvinder's life as it motivated him to try his hand in archery at the target range.
The highlight of Harvinder's career so far is his recurve gold medal at the 2018 Asian Para Games, who had entered the world archery scene just a year before. The gold medal was bittersweet for Harvinder as he had lost his mother just 20 days before the competition.
"When I got that gold medal, I dedicated that medal to my mother. I have lost many things in my life, even my mother, so I had to take a medal from there, and luckily I won. All that is because of my hard work and the blessings of my mother." Harvinder siad Paralympics.org in an interview.
Singh also won bronze at the 2019 Asian Para Archery Championships in Bangkok. Harvinder now has his eyes set on the elusive Olympic medal.
Preparation for Tokyo Olympics
The effects of the pandemic have been perceived in two ways by the athletes. Some feel that the pandemic, having placed colossal effort into the Olympics, has put their hopes in limbo. In contrast, others think that the extra year with the additional training will result in a better performance at the Olympics.
Harvinder is the second type, the optimist. After the lockdown restrictions, Harvinder returned from Punjab University, Patiala, to his village, Ajitnagar, in the Kaithal district. Singh started training at his seven-acre family farm, where he has set up the target and has begun training. He has been shooting 150 arrows a day as part of his preparation for Tokyo. Training is crucial for archers as a large part of their accuracy comes from muscle memory.
Harvinder Singh, who is currently pursuing his PhD from Patiala University, says he is watching three-time Olympic medallist Brady Ellison's videos to improve his shooting. Harvinder is in fine form after winning open mixed recurve gold at the 7th Fazza Para Archery Ranking tournament with Pooja, and will be looking to carry forward it in Tokyo.