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Sixth Sense: The Rohit Bhaker story

The Haryana lad is no ordinary shuttler. The 21-year-old, who practices in New Delhi, cannot speak or hear but has managed to create a niche for himself, writes Saji Chacko.

othersports Updated: May 08, 2005 00:31 IST

The first thing you notice about the boy is his wellgelled hair. Every strand seems to be in its place. A closer look, into his eyes, reflects his steely determination.

Rohit Bhaker is no ordinary shuttler. The 21-year-old, who originally hails from Bhiwani, but practices in New Delhi, cannot speak or hear but has managed to create a niche for himself. He won a bronze medal in the World Silent Games in Sydney a couple of months ago.

The Sydney performance will be etched in Rohit's mind for a long time. As he puts it (through his brother, who is acting as interpreter), "The joy of standing on the podium with the medal around my neck was something I cannot forget."

Rohit's determination can be gauged from the fact that he travels about 100 km everyday to come to the Northern Railway Indoor Badminton Stadium in Connaught Place. Yet, invariably, he is the first to report for practice.

"His (Rohit's) punctuality is something that needs to be seen to be believed. He is there inside the hall almost on the dot at 9am. There are times when even we are late. But not Rohit," says Vikram Singh, who coaches Rohit.

Rohit has the distinction of winning the Haryana State open singles titles four times in a row. "I am eager to win my state championships as I want to prove that I am the best in my state," he says.

Rohit's induction into badminton was more by accident than design. As a kid he used to accompany elder sister Deepti to the nearby courts where she would train for hours. At first he wasn't interested in badminton but gradually, things fell into place.

"Slowly, I started to take an interest in the game. Thereafter, the fascination gave way to obsession. I began to eat, think and sleep badminton."

Not surprisingly, Rajeev Bagga is his idol. He feels, "Able-bodied people should understand and respect us. If we physically challenged can achieve this, there is no limit to what a normal person can do with his life."

First Published: May 08, 2005 00:31 IST