A generation having been inspired, it's time for most of the world — and India — to look forward to Rio 2016. But for a few thousand athletes, the Games will only begin next Wednesday, when the Paralympics start.
Not too many eyes will be on London then, but Neeraj Yadav's sure will be. A vocational therapist at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Yadav is also an accomplished tennis player with strong finishes against his name in several AITA-sanctioned tournaments.
Chances are you have not heard of him, and there’s a reason for it.
“What’s lacking is the awareness,” says Yadav. “No one knows about the existence of sports for the differently-abled.”
Struck by polio as a seven-month-old infant, Yadav's locomotion is dependent on wheelchairs. But that has not stopped the 28-year-old from trying his hand at a variety of sports, the latest being golf.
Yadav is one of the 25 differently-abled people being trained by Jasjit Singh at the Delhi Golf Club.
“There’s a stigma associated with being disabled, especially in India, which I want to get rid of," says Jasjit, whose plans include conducting an Indian Open for the differently-abled next year.
That’s good news for someone like Yadav, who has taken quite a liking to the sport. “I want to continue playing it, and maybe take part in the Olympics.”
That’s still some way off, but hitting the longest drive, two days after he first held a club, isn’t a bad start.