Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
Sharad Kumar beats polio and wins a medal in Tokyo Paralympics
The 29-year-old was competing at his second Paralympic Games in Tokyo
Indian para-athlete, Sharad Kumar, won the bronze medal in the Men's High Jump T63 category at the Tokyo Paralympics. Competing at his second Paralympic Games, after finishing sixth in Rio, Sharad Kumar put in a fine display to secure his first-ever Paralympic medal.
Sharad Kumar was diagnosed with polio when he was two years old and the condition caused complete paralysis in his left leg. However, eleven years later in 2005, Sharad was motivated by his brother to take up high jump when he was in his school in Darjeeling. He then broke all of his brother's records in school, which provided him with the confidence to take up the sport seriously.
Sharad made his international debut in 2010 and six years later competed at the Rio Paralympics where he finished in the sixth position with a best jump of 1.77m. However, after the Rio Games, Sharad performed brilliantly in the World Championship event in 2017 and won the silver medal in London. One year later, at the Para Asian Games in Jakarta, Sharad went one step further and won the gold with a jump of 1.90m. He then went on to once again win the silver medal at the 2019 World Championship in Dubai.
At the Tokyo Paralympics, Sharad started at the 1.73m mark and cleared all four jumps (1.73m, 1.77m, 1.80m, and 1.83m) in his first attempt. He couldn't clear the 1.86m mark in his three attempts but had already secured the bronze medal after jumping 1.83m in the previous round. Sharad's bronze medal, along with Mariyappan Thangavelu's silver at the same event, ensured that India reached double digits medal tally on Day 7 of the Tokyo Paralympics.