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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

How Tarun Dhillon overcame injury and eyeing a stellar show in para badminton at Tokyo Paralympics

We take a look at para-shuttler Tarun Dhillon's inspiring journey that made him realise his dream.

Tarun Dhillon

Tarun Dhillon (Source: BWF)


Rajdeep Saha

Updated: 26 Aug 2021 7:08 AM GMT

Many have predicted an inspiring performance from the Indian para-shuttlers at the Tokyo Paralympics, and rightly so. The 7-member team has some experienced as well as bright talents ready to give their all as badminton makes its debut on the big stage. One name that people might be overlooking is Tarun Dhillon.

The current World No.2 in the SL4 category, Dhillon is one of those scintillating talents who can put in a good shift for a podium finish. Just like the majority of the nation, a young Tarun was enamoured of the idea of being a cricketer. But an accident at age 10 made his plans take a detour. While recovering, he found badminton and hasn't looked back ever since.

His talent and skill had been noticed by his family and peers alike, and there were no reservations with regards to his love for the sport. Even after being involved with a racquet and a shuttlecock for more than a decade now, the young athlete still looks up to his family and coaches for motivation. A 19-year old Dhillon shot to fame in 2013 as he became the best in the world after winning gold in the World championship. He regained his rank in 2015, making him a two-time world champion. He added another feather to his cap when he won the gold in the 2018 Para Asian games.

Injuries tried to put a ceasure to his plans, but the shuttler's grit and mental strength were unparalleled. He endured two ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) related injuries to his left knee in quick succession. The first came at the 2019 World Championship final, while the other added to his pain at the Paralympic qualifying stages in early 2020. Despite these setbacks, he continued to look on the brighter side of things as he was no stranger to these aberrations. The postponement of the Paralympics came as a sigh of relief as it gave him more time to recover from the second injury.

Once training again, the confidence just kept growing. On the 2nd of September, Dhillon's dream of playing at the Paralympics will come true as he takes on his competitors in the Men's Singles SL4 category. With the whole of the badminton contingent hoping for a medal haul at Tokyo, we don't see a reason why Tarun Dhillon cannot bring back a medal to his Haryana home.

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