At 53, Munawar Anzar has come a long way since taking up the challenge of introducing the country to blind and para judo.
A recipient of Yash Bharti award, he has trained over 3,700 budding judokas who were driven by a fierce determination to overcome disabilites and excel in the sport.
Anzar, who represented the country as a referee in 25 International Judo Competitions in Asia, Europe, and Africa, wasn’t to be deterred by the onerous task of making the sport popular among disabled athletes. He said the idea of making the sport popular in India struck him after he was sent to officiate judo games for the visually-impaired at the 2010 Games in Guangzhou, China.
“It was disheartening that while small countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Pakistan had sent their respective judo contingents, there was none from India,” Anzar said.
On his return, he met officials of the International Judo Federation and Awanish K Awasthi, presently the joint secretary, department of disability affairs and formed the Indian Blind and Para Judo Association. He got the body registered and took affiliation from the Paralympic Committee of India to push ahead with his plans.
Having organised both national national and international judo meets in the country, Anzar hopes a sizeable judo contingent will strike gold for India in the 2020 Paralympics in Japan.