Arjuna award winner: From grief to a success story of grit and guts
Things were going as desired for Gurjar until October 2015 when Gurjar along with his coach and family had to go through a major test in their lives.Updated: Aug 21, 2019 14:19 IST
“One day I was a sportsman full of dreams about making it big as a javelin thrower. The next day, I lost a hand. For three whole months I did not leave my room in the sports academy in Jaipur. I cried day and night, unable to bear the shock. After I was done crying, I stood up and thought that maybe I have a chance as a para-athelete,” said Sundar Gurjar, a para-athelete from Rajasthan to receive Arjuna award this year.
The 23-year-old is a resident of Hindaun city in Karauli who joined sports training academy in Jaipur in 2009 hoping to make it big as a shortput player. “I was not very good in studies but I used to play sports in school was a medal winner in school national as well. I therefore thought of giving a trail for admission in to Rajasthan sports academy, Jaipur. Though, this was not the career choice which my parents wanted me to opt at that time,” said Gurjar.
Son of a farmer, Gurjar underwent coaching under coach Mahaveer Saini since the admission. “Sundar was a very hardworking student since the beginning. He is somebody who immediately grasps what is taught to him. I analysed that he is a natural Javelin thrower therefore I asked him to start with Javelin throw instead of shortput,” said Saini.
Things were going as desired for Gurjar until October 2015 when Gurjar along with his coach and family had to go through a major test in their lives. “I was in Dausa at my friend’s place when I met with a major accident. Before I could analyse what had happened, I was told that my left hand will have to be mutilated from my body in order to avoid infections. I was completely blank about what was going around me. Things just moved very fast and I returned to my room in the academy,” said Gurjar.
Gurjar did not leave his room for three months. The only visitors to him was his family, close friend and his coach. “My coach came to meet me daily and advised be to not to stop exercising. Had he not been by my side, I could have still been sitting in the same room, crying about what has happened,” said Gurjar.
“Now we had to deal with Sundar very differently. Apart from being by his side through the mental breakdown, we had to find alternative ways of exercise for him. Certain exercises like bench press, weight lifting was not possible with a single hand,” said Saini.
Sundar started to practice again since February 2016 as a para athelete and made a national record of throwing Javelin upto 68.42 metres in Panchkula National games in 2016. He never looked back after achieving a major push through the national award. He won gold medal in London world championship in 2017, followed by three gold medal in Shortput, discuss and Javelin throw at Worls Grandpix in Dubai, 2017.
Other achievements in the long list of medals include silver medal in Asian Games, Indonesia 2018; gold medal in World Grandpix in Germany and Switzerland in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Second major blow to Gurjar’s career when he was disqualified at Rio Olympics in 2016. “I was 52 seconds late for my appearance in the game. I was hence diaqualified. I was a record holder than and in full form but due to some internal politics I was not told about my turn to throw Javelin. I was completely broken and came back to India,” said Gurjar.
Saini said that since the past three years he has been by the Gurjar’s side. “He was so broken mentally that I feared about his well being. I have never left him alone since the day he came back from Rio Olympics. It took a very long time from him to come back to form. Hopefully the Arjun Award will motivate him to do much better,” said Saini.
Gurjar is presently eyeing on world Championship in Dubai to be held in 2019 and for Olympic games in Tokyo, 2020.
“After the grief, a point comes when you have to stand up and leave your past behind. I am hopeful about what lies ahead with my coach, family and well wishers by my side,” said Gurjar.
Gurjar is presently under training at Jawahar lal Nehru stadium in Delhi at a national camp.
First Published: Aug 21, 2019 14:19 IST