Sunday , September 26 2021

Paralympics bronze medallist archer Harvinder Singh wants to crack UPSC Exam, says coach

Harvinder Singh of India
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

Harvinder Singh of India

Harvinder Singh, who on Friday became the first Indian to win a Paralympics medal in archery, is a man of many parts.

Pursuing Ph.D. in economics, the 31-year-old, whose legs stopped functioning properly due to adverse effect from an injection during his childhood, loves history, is a painter and dreams of cracking the UPSC examination some day, according to his coach Gaurav Sharma.

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Having taken up archery in the compound section after getting inspired from watching the 2012 London Paralympics, Singh almost quit the sport after he did not make it to the 2014 Incheon Asian Para Games Indian team.

“He was completely demoralised and was telling archery was not his domain,” his childhood coach Sharma told PTI.

Sharma, however, did not want to let his effort go in vain and “wanted to take a risk”. In the bronze playoff, Singh was leading 5-3 before Kim Min Su clinched the fifth set, shooting a perfect 10 to force a shoot-off where the Indian responded in style with a perfect 10 against the Korean’s 8 for a 6-5 (26-24, 27-29, 28-25, 25-25, 26-27) (10-8) win.

Son of a farmer from Guhla Cheeka near Kaithal in Haryana, Singh had a bout of dengue when he was one-and-half-year-old and a local doctor administered him with an injection that had an adverse effect and his legs stopped working properly since then.

“He had the hunger to excel and we took a risk and put him into the tougher recurve event which requires precise skills,” Sharma said.

“There was 100 per cent dedication from him, he would turn up at 6.30am and practice till 8.30 and again come for practice in the afternoon.”

He went on to top the selection trials for the 2017 Beijing World Championships and has not looked back since then. He went on to win a gold in the 2018 Asian Para Games.

“As if he had something to prove… He was so focused and lived up to our expectation, we are so happy that he took the risk.”

Singh was offered a government job in the state government after his Asian Games feat. “He has not taken it since then. He wants to do something on his own, and his dream is to crack the UPSC,” Sharma said.

After returning from practice, Singh would study till late into the night. “His favourite subject is history and does some amazing paintings like a true professional. I’m sure he won’t stop here,” Sharma said. 

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