Not just India’s Rio Olympics-bound athletes, a few Paralympians too are planning training stints abroad after having made the cut for the upcoming 2016 Paralympic Games.
Paralympians like Devendra Jhajharia, Amit Saroha and Suyash Jadhav will fly out of the country soon for high performance training stints before the 2016 Paralympics, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from September 7-18. For many athletes like Jhajharia and Jadhav, this will be the first time they travel abroad for a training stint.
Javelin thrower Jhajharia, who won a gold medal in javelin in the 2004 Athens Games and still holds the world record, will leave for Finland later this month to train at the renowned Olympic Training Center in Kuortane. Jhajharia, who will get funds from the government under the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme, will leave for the Scandinavian country later this month and will train there until September, a stint which will cost around Rs 30 lakh.
“The world’s best javelin throwers come there to train. The equipment at the facility is second to none. There are machines there which tell you exactly what angle you are releasing your javelin and what angle you should ideally be releasing it in. They also show you which part of your hand the power in your throw comes from and how you can maximise your throw. I will work on improving my technique there,” the 34-year-old Arjuna Awardee said. The Rajasthan native had his left hand amputated after touching a live electric cable when he was 8.
Saroha, another of India’s top medal prospects at the Paralympics, is currently on the verge of finalising a training stint in United Kingdom at the end of this month. The 30-year-old, who has paralysis of the lower body due to a car accident when he was 22, will compete in the discus and club throw events at Rio.
Meanwhile, para-swimmers like Jadhav and Niranjan Mukundan will travel to Thanyapura in Phuket. In fact, Mukundan only came back from a three-week training stint in Thailand last week. While Jadhav has earned India an Olympic quota in the S7 category, he will have to wait till August to know whether he will be on the plane to Rio as August 14 is the last date for qualification after which a contender will be picked for the quota places earned by India.
Meanwhile, both para-swimmers will travel to Phuket to train under a Spanish coach for two-three months. While both athletes are not covered by the TOP scheme, they are funded by the GoSports Foundation.
“I’ve never actually travelled outside the country just for a training stint. So, after I come back from the stint I will be able to assess how much improvement there is in my timings. The Rio Games are not a small thing, that’s why I decided to go abroad for intensive practice,” Jadhav, who had both his hands amputated after touching a live electric cable when he was in Class 6, said.