After winning the bronze medal in last year’s Rio Paralympics, Varun Singh Bhati spend most of his time attending the felicitation functions. Even a week before the World Para Athletics Championships in London, he had to leave his camp for a day for an event in Mumbai. However, the 22-year-old polio-struck high jumper was worried that the skipping of training sessions might cost his podium finish in the world championship.
That was not the case on Saturday as Varun added another medal to his kitty when he clinched bronze in high jump in the T42 category in London with a jump of 1.77m. Another Indian athlete, Sharad Kumar, came up with his personal best jump of 1.84m to clinch silver in the same event.
“As I told you before leaving for the world championship that post-Rio I had to spend most of my time in the felicitation functions and doing the pending family commitments, which I couldn’t do for almost two years training for the Rio. So, my training for the London event was not of that level what it was at the time of Rio Games, but at the same time I was confident that if I will able to jump somewhere between 1.75m-80m then I would be in the medal bracket in the world championship and thankfully I did it,” Bhati said while talking to HT after his event.
“The best part of the ongoing world championship is that we as an contingent is able to came up with the country’s best ever performance in the world meet. Earlier our beat was two silver medals in the 2015 edition or a gold in 2013 edition, but this time we have won five medals, including a gold and two silver, and there is still a day left to the event, so we might end up winning six medals,” he added.
Leaving the dope past behind
Sharad, who was banned for two years on being dope positive (2012-14), won his first World Para Athletics Championships medal. The polio-struck high jumper had to skip the London Paralympics because of the sanction. But later he qualified for the Rio Games and finished sixth. His earlier best performance in the international arena was gold in the 2014 Para Asian Games.