Suhas Yathiraj: IAS officer serving as District Magistrate wins silver medal at Tokyo Paralympics
The 38-year-old won the silver medal in the Men's Singles SL4 category at the Tokyo Paralympics
On the final day of the Tokyo Paralympics, all eyes were on Suhas Yathiraj early on as he was set to take on the World No.1 Lucas Mazur of France in the Men's Singles SL4 category. It was an exhilarating final with both the athletes producing their best and at times it was tough to pick out the winner. While Suhas won the first set, Lucas made a comeback in the second set and continued that momentum in the final set as well to win the gold medal.
Suhas Yathiraj should be incredibly proud of his effort as he became the third Indian para-shuttler to win a medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. His journey from playing badminton in school to being an IAS officer and now a Paralympics medallist is truly an inspiration for the billions of Indians.
An IAS officer of the 2007 batch, with an impairment in one of his ankles, Suhas started playing badminton in his school days and the support of his parents, who treated him just like any other kid, made sure that the impairment never became in an obstacle in his life. Suhas's parents would always encourage him to participate in inter-school tournaments which in a way paved the way for him to live a proper life.
Suhas continued to maintain his interest in the sport after his schooling days as well and would often be encouraged by his colleagues to take up the sport professionally whenever he would play in the civil services academy, Suhas's has often stated that the impairment in his ankle was also the reason that led him to play sports more often so that he can be more active. It was finally in 2012 when he became aware of Para-Badminton and that's when his journey began professionally.
Suhas made his mark on the international stage in 2016, when he became the first civil servant to win a gold medal at the Asian Para-Badminton Championship in Beijing while serving as the District Magistrate of Azamgarh. Owing to his success, Suhas was given the award of Best Para Sportsperson, by the Uttar Pradesh government on World Disability Day.
Two years later, Suhas was part of the historic men's badminton team, which won the bronze medal at the Asian Para Games in Indonesia.
Despite being an athlete, Suhas has worked incredibly hard as an IAS officer to bring positive change in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Being a Computer Engineer himself, Suhas played a key role in developing a mobile application that will help differently-abled voters during the time of elections. Suhas has also took efforts to help the undernourished children and pregnant women in his state by developing applications such as "Kuposhan ka Darpan" and "Pregnancy ka Darpan".
His efforts and hard work didn't go unnoticed as he was recognized with the Yash Bharti award, the highest civilian honour of Uttar Pradesh, in 2016.
After winning the silver medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, one would expect that Suhas would be bestowed upon with many more awards and recognition as he made the country proud at the biggest stage of all in sports.