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Posted at: Oct 11, 2018, 1:40 AM; last updated: Oct 11, 2018, 1:40 AM (IST)PARA ASIAN GAMES

Dr Gold: Kaithal’s Harvinder wins first archery title

‘This is the happiest day of my life, my biggest achievement’

Other medallists

  • Monu Ghangas wins silver in discus throw (F11)
  • Vijay Kumar wins silver in long jump (T42/T61/T63)
  • Mohammed Yasser wins bronze in shot put (F46)
  • The women’s doubles pair of Bhavinaben Patel and Sonalben Patel wins silver in table tennis (TT 3-5)
  • Jennitha Anto wins chess silver in the women’s individual P1 category
  • Jennitha and Prema Kanishri win team bronze in chess
  • Sudhir wins bronze inpowerlifting in the upto 80kg category
Dr Gold: Kaithal’s Harvinder wins first archery title
Harvinder Singh won gold, crushing China’s Zhao Lixue 6-0 in the W2/ST category final. Twitter

Jakarta/Chandigarh, Oct 10

Harvinder Singh, a sportsman-scholar, won India’s first archery gold in the Asian Para Games, in the men’s individual recurve event by crushing China’s Zhao Lixue 6-0 in the W2/ST category final today.

This took India’s gold tally to seven. India also picked up four silver and four bronze medals on Day 5 of the competition. 

“This is the happiest day of my life, my biggest achievement,” said the 27-year-old Harvinder. Belonging to village Ajitnagar in Kaithal district of Haryana, Harvinder trains at Punjabi University in Patiala. 

At one-and-a-half years of age, he fell ill and an incorrectly-given injection caused impairment in his left leg. “My family tells me that before my illness, I used to always run around and it was difficult to get hold of me,” said Harvinder.

After “two-three” operations on his left leg, Harvinder was able to walk, and the doctors said they would not be able to help any more. “When I was about 10-12 years old, I told my parents I could live with my problem, I didn’t want any further running after doctors,” he said. “I see players with much bigger problems. My problem is not so big.”

Two gurus

Harvinder always found support from family and friends. He is particularly reverential about two ‘gurus’ — Jiwanjot Singh Teja and Dr Kamaljit Singh. Teja is his archery coach who’s guided him since 2012, while Dr Singh is his doctoral supervisor — Harvinder is pursuing a Ph.D. in economics at Punjabi University.

Harvinder got complete support from his family, who are farmers. “My parents knew that I could not work in the fields, so they wanted me to work hard in my studies,” Harvinder said. “I was always among the top 3-4 students in my class.”

Combining archery and studies was a huge challenge. “After hours of practice and exercises, it’s tough to study late into the night,” he said. “One can barely sit down, the body is paining after being on one’s feet the whole day.”

In 2014, someone told him that he was wasting his time in archery, and he quit. “I was away when he quit,” said coach Teja. “But I called him back, convinced him he had a future in archery. He started practising again.”

“Since compound archery is not an Olympics sport, I told him to take up recurve archery,” Teja added. “He did that, and there was no stopping him.”

Harvinder has won the biggest medal of his life. But he has one regret — his mother, who would be the happiest person at all his achievements, is not around to share the joy. She passed away last month, even as he prepared for the Asian Games and also on a synopsis for his doctoral thesis. “I knew I was not going to return from here (Bangkok) empty-handed,” said Harvinder. “I knew I would win a medal for her.” — TNS

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