Nishad performed better than expectations to win the silver: 2012 High jump silver medallist Girisha
The 2012 Paralympics silver medallist in High Jump, Girisha Nagarajegowda was all praise for Nishad Kumar in a conversation with The Bridge.
Nishad Kumar won the second medal for India at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics with a jump of 2.06m in the Men's T47 High Jump. The 20-year-old shared the silver medal with USA's Wise Dallas as both of them failed to cross the 2.06m barrier at the Olympics Stadium in Tokyo.
This was India's fourth high jump medal at the Paralympics and quite expectedly the first one to do so, Girisha Nagarajegowda, was more than thrilled.
"I can't describe how happy I am for Nishad Kumar. He has worked very hard for this. I used to meet him almost every day when he was in the national camp recently before flying to Tokyo. I had even called him just before his final and to see him win a medal there feels surreal," Girisha says right at the start of the conversation to The Bridge.
The 2012 silver medallist was all of the praise for the young Nishad, who addresses him as 'bade bhaiyya' or big brother.
"Nishad calls me bade bhaiyya, and that's the kind of relationship we share. Before the event, looking at the personal best of all the athletes in the start list, Nishad was expected to win a bronze. But, he performed better than expectations and will be returning with a silver. This certainly has to be his best ever career performance, and the only way for him is up from here" Girisha explains.
When enquired on India's rise in para-high jump over the years, starting with him, Girisha had a straightforward answer.
"A lot of the credit has to go to Satyanarayana sir. He trained me, then Mariyappan Thangavelu and now Nishad and discus thrower Vinod Kumar. All three of us have won the Paralympics medal. Besides, when Devendra Jhajharia won the gold there was no recognition, but in 2012 when I won the silver I got deserved attention. It kind of laid the foundation and drew a lot more talented youngsters to the sport, and we see the results today."
Girisha was also hopeful of the country winning more medals in the coming days, especially in the T63 High Jump.
"We still have a lot of events left. There is a T63 high jump too, where we have Mariyappan, Sharad Kumar and Varun Singh Bhati – all of them are world class and we might see at least two of them on the podium. Moreover, we also have the javelin throwers – Devendra, Sundar Gurjar, Sandeep Chaudhary, Sumit and also some very good badminton players," he said.