In the cut-throat world of Paralympics, even your personal best can often fall short, as Maharashtra’s Suyash Jadhav found out in Rio de Janeiro. The 22-year-old swimmer set his personal best timings in two of his three events in Brazil at the recently concluded Rio Paralympics, but it was not enough.
In the 50m butterfly S7 event, Suyash clocked a timing of 33.63 to finish fifth in his heat, while in the 50m freestyle S7 event, he clocked 31.58 in the heats to again finish fifth. In the men’s 200m individual medley SM7 event, he finished sixth in his heat with a timing of 3:01.05.
Despite the heartbreak, Jadhav has chosen to look at the positives. “This is the biggest competition I’ve ever participated in so I was initially overawed by the occasion in my first race -- the 50m freestyle S7 event. There was a lot of pressure on me. But this won’t happen again. I’ve learnt how to overcome that pressure in Rio,” Jadhav told HT after returning to India.
Jadhav is a double amputee who lost both his arms after being accidentally electrocuted by unprotected wiring at a construction site when he was in Class 6. That accident left him bed-ridden in the hospital for six months. However, despite the mental scars of the injury at such a young age, Suyash took up swimming, a sport which his father also competed in, soon and has never looked back.
Jadhav also pointed out that the Rio Paralympics was his first major competition -- he’s never participated in the Asian Games or a World Championships. Having returned with a wealth of experience from Rio, Jadhav has now set his sights on claiming a medal at next year’s World Championship in London.
The 22-year-old will return to the pool on Sunday for a state-level swimming championship in Pune. “Having seen how Paralympians from other countries prepare themselves before and during competitions at Rio, I will try and follow that,” added Jadhav.