Despite getting chances to represent his country thrice, his family's weak financial condition didn't permit him to take part in international events. His destiny changed after Hindustan Times on August 18 highlighted his predicament and soon bicycle giant, Avon Cycles, adopted him and promised to back all his future events.
Gaurav, 15, has brought laurels to the city as well as the country by clinching two medals - gold and bronze - at the international karate championship held at Thimpu (Bhutan) recently. A total of 40 students from across the country represented India in the event. Five players were from Punjab, four from Bathinda and one from Jalandhar.
Talking to HT, Gaurav said, "I am thankful to Avon Cycles for the patronage. From the day my story got published in HT, things changed for the better and in a span of one-and-half-months I am holding one gold and bronze medal winner in an international event."
This was for the first time that Gaurav competed with players from other countries. sharing his experience, he said, "It was a great experience and I learned a lot. I had to fight against tough competitors. Their technique, style and strategies were quiet different."
His coach Karan Singh Chauhan was equally joyous. "I am happy over Gaurav's success. Finally, his hard work paid. It's just a beginning there are many more medals to come for India. We are thankful to Avon Cycles for backing him and expect more firms to come and support talented youngsters," Chauhan said.
He said that Madhya Pradesh was a leader when it came to rewarding the medal winners at the international level. "Conditions in Punjab are different as Karate is still not recognised here due to which many promising players had quit the game out of insecurity," he said, adding, "Players want respect and appreciation for their hard work, noting else."
"When we arrived from Bhutan, it was disheartening that no government official was present to receive us. Still, presence of parents of the players, members of some social groups and Bathinda Karate Association made our day."
Director of Avon Cycles Rishi Pahwa said, "We are really motivated by his success and will be sponsoring all his events whereever he wants to go." "Punjab is sliding whereas Haryana has shown promise in sports. We will be backing all the players of Punjab who are talented and economically weak," said Pahwa.