Aiming for gold in 2020 Paralympics, Asian Para Games gold medalist Ekta Bhyan tells Newz Hook
Among the stars to shine brightest in the recently held Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, was Ekta Bhyan. The 37-year-old from Hisar in Haryana won a gold medal in club throw, becoming the second Indian woman to win this honor in the Para Games.
With a throw of 16.02 metres, Ekta also became the first female gold medalist from the Haryana. It's clearly a special moment for Ekta, she she told Newz Hook.
I was sure of my medal but not of the colour. I am happy that the colour turned out to be golden. It feels great and blessed. To be the second Indian female to win a gold at the Games gives me the motivation to be the first Indian female to win gold at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. - Ekta Bhyan, Gold medalist, 2018 Asian Para Games
For Ekta, winning the medal is a powerful statement in many ways. She says that to be the first girl from Haryana, which usually hits the headlines for its poor gender ratio, shows that that girls in this state are encouraged to pursue the dreams of their choice.
Ekta's own story is an example of how grit and determination can overcome the barriers of disability. In 2003, she was in a road accident that left her with a severe spinal injury. Her lower limbs were paralyzed and Ekta started using a wheelchair.
"My disability includes complete paralysis of lower limbs and partial paralysis of upper limbs, this medical condition is known as quadriplegia, due to spinal cord. This is one of the most severe kind of disability. Achieving all this, in this physical state amazes me."
She credits her triumph at the Games to her parents, whom she regards as a major source of support and strength. "My parents have been my constant support since the day I met with road accident 15 years ago."
The other person she looks up to is her coach, Paralympian Amit Kumar Saroha, who was instrumental in introducing her to para sports. "I am training under him since three years, so the credit goes to him."
Sports is not the only focus of Ekta's life. She is also a Haryana government employee. "In 2013, I qualified for the Haryana civil services exam and since then I am posted at Hisar as an Assistant Employment Officer. My job is very close to my heart as I had really worked very hard to qualify for this exam and to get this this job. It was later in 2015, that I joined sports."
For now, Ekta's sole focus is on the 2020 Paralympics and she is determined to make sure the colour of the metal is golden. She hopes that the achievements of Indian sportspersons at the Games will lead to greater attention and support.
"It is really amazing that a contingent of just 190 players attained 72 medals in the Asian Para games. The government and media is also paying attention to Para sports and we appreciate their efforts. Hopefully in the coming years, corporates too will encourage and contribute in this direction by understanding the needs of disabled people".