From not imagining of what sports can create a positive impact on him to becoming a silver medallist in the Paralympics, Nishad Kumar has come a long way. His next aim is to secure a berth for the games in Paris.
New Delhi: Indian Paralympian high jumper Nishad Kumar bagged the gold medal in the inaugural Khelo India Para Games 2023 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday. He achieved the feat while making a leap of 1.95m over the pole in the T-47 category. Since 2018, Nishad has been brilliant and his consistency during tournaments when it mattered the most is commendable. People will celebrate his success now but what about his life before 2018, which made him the athlete he currently is? Let’s go down the road and decode the Arjuna Awardee’s journey to glory.
The 24-year-old was born and raised in a small village named Badaun in the district of Una in Himachal Pradesh. Nishad’s mother played volleyball and practiced discus throwing for district and state teams. But his town had a contrasting view of sports and it was not considered a career. Nishad got his right hand cut by a grass cutter when he was only in class IV. Children at that age crumble when they undergo a situation like this but not in the case of Nishad. As rightly said by the high jumper himself post the event at the JLN, that sports was in his blood and continued with sporting activities in school. However his family was not okay with him pursuing sports, but when he reached class VI, he began his sporting journey with the support of his mother.
High school, a turning point for Nishad
Nishad made a shift to a government school for his secondary education. Considering the rich sporting culture the school had, Nishad started to slowly become more involved in playing multiple sports. While he started to play Kho Kho, Nishad continued with his high jumps and running. His fondness towards multiple sports especially acing in high jump earned him a call-up for the able body (not para games) U-19 Nationals in Pune, Maharashtra. His 1.75m jump in Pune was considered his turning point as it motivated him as he was not a professionally trained athlete.
“I finished either 9th or 10th but it was a big deal for me as the other athletes were fully trained and went to the stadium for their practice while I was selected from the school”, said Nishad in an exclusive conversation with News9 Sports.
2017-2019: Tough time but great learnings
Nishad knew that this would be the path he would choose post his performance in Pune. After completing his secondary education, he contacted his aunt, who lived in Chandigarh then. Later on, he contacted the sports institute in Panchkula and met his coaches Naseem Ahmed and Vikram Chaudhary, who went on to become his pillars of strength during tough times. Initially, Nishad’s plan along with his mother and aunt was that if the budget was high considering the level of facilities and the setup of the stadium, then the 24-year-old would opt out considering his family’s financial constraints. But he was in for a surprise.