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Para swimmer Suyash Jadhav is on a to mission fulfill his father's dream at Tokyo Paralympics
Suyash Jadhav, who became the first para swimmer to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics, is on a mission to fulfil the dream of his father by winning a medal.
Para swimmer Suyash Narayan Jadhav became the first Indian swimmer to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Suyash will compete in the 50m Butterfly of S-7 category and the 200m Individual Medley of SM-7 category at Tokyo. The 27-year-old from Maharashtra booked his slot at the Paralympics based on his performances at the 2018 Asian Para Games held in Jakarta.
While the Minimum Qualifying Standard (MQS) in 50m Butterfly was set at 0:32.90, Suyash recorded a timing of 0:32.71in Jakarta, which propelled him to a gold medal. On the other hand, he beat the Minimum Entry Time of 2:57.09 in 200m Individual Medley at Jakarta, clocking 2:56.51 while clinching an Asian bronze.
Suyash, who is practising at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune, will be heading for the Tokyo Paralympics Games on Monday, August 23rd.
"My father was a national-level swimmer who couldn't make it to the international stages. He wanted that I, as his son, fulfil his dream. So from the tender age of three, he started imparting swimming lessons to me. It was actually a well, where he taught me swimming," said Suyash, in an exclusive conversation with The Bridge.
"However, when I was in the sixth standard, I was attending my brother's wedding in a school. At that wedding, both my hands got electrocuted. The condition was so bad that both my hands were amputated," he added.
Two years went by, getting past the trauma of this tragedy, and Suyash slowly tried to adjust himself to the new way of life. Two years later, Suyash and his family had gone to a religious gathering in Nasik, Maharashtra. They stayed near a pond, and during this time, SUyash found his urge back for swimming once again. He went down the pond and swam like any regular swimmer.
"My father saw me swim again, and I could see the happiness in his eyes. It was he who took the initiative to know everything about para-swimming and pushed me to pursue it professionally."
In 2007, Suyash took part in state and national level competitions, and from his first tournament, he started fetching medals. Suyash won 51 medals at the national level in his prolonged career, including 41 gold and 50 gold medals at the state level.
Training at the Deccan Gymkhana in Pune, Jadhav won a silver and a bronze medal at the 2015 IWAS World Games in Sochi, Russia, conducted by the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation.
Suyash became the first Indian Para swimmer to register the 'A' qualifying mark for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio and Tokyo Olympics 2020. In November, he followed this up with four medals at the 2015 Winter Open Polish Championship and won three silver medals at the German swimming championship in 2016.
He has been training under Dr Tapan Kumar Panigrahi at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune.
A normal day for Suyash includes training at the swimming pool for two hours in the morning, followed by two hours in the evening. It also includes 2 hours of gym session before noon.
"In the 2016 Paralympics, I competed as an inexperienced swimmer. Over the years, I have been able to gain more maturity, which will help me in the 2020 Games. Compared to Rio, I am much well prepared for Tokyo, and the overall exposure looks positive for me to win a medal." concluded Suyash.