Chariot of Gold: Journey of a Para-Athlete...

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

In a country obsessed with cricket as the prime sport, other sports are outdone where India performs well and has a better set of athletes. India has a good history of producing excellent sportsman in many other sports categories. Indian diaspora has a better consideration and owe a lot to these neglected talents who bring global recognition and accolades for the nation, especially the professional para-athletes.

Devershee Sachan, a resident of Gurugram began his beautiful and inspiring journey in 2017 when he heard about Paralympics on Radio Channels. His curiosity made such an impact on his future decisions that he started researching on various sports through Google. He is now a successful para-athlete who has bagged four gold medals consecutively from 2018 to 2021. He has also represented India in Para Asian Games.

Started thinking about his sports career in 2017 when he heard about Paralympics on the radio. Out of curiosity, he learnt more about this from Google. He is four times gold medallist for the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, he has represented India in Para Asian games. He watched numerous videos and furthermore wrote messages to the International Paralympic Committee, Germany. He got their responses following 2-3 days where they sent him the enrollment forms. Devershee got invigorated and yet stressed over other stuff like discovering a mentor, which was again a major undertaking for him.

After numerous weeks likewise, he couldn't discover any mentor, so he chose to begin training on his own. He continued to remind himself that he is a warrior and regardless he will continue doing, anything to achieve his dreams. Devershee was seeking after an interior designing course and furthermore dealing with finding out about how to be a para-athlete.

Para games were not yet mainstream:

Devershee mailed the Paralympics Committee in India for the registration process. Later he participated in Khel Mahakumbh (district level games). Khel Mahakumbh management did not know about sporting events related to para-games. But then Devershee educated them and finally, he was allowed to play. He won gold in Shot Put 3 kg and silver in discus throw 1 kg.

He then participated in the state championship where the sports organisation allotted him a sports class referred as an f-32 class, where athletes can throw while sitting on a platform. He won 2 gold medals in the Shot Put 3 kg and club throw which is similar to a discus throw of 490 grams.

Devershee continued his journey as a fighter and he played his first nationals which were held in Panchkula and yet again in the first match, he won 2 gold medals and a national record in club throw. Devershee lists that the biggest challenge he has ever faced was to find himself a mentor and a coach, he could not find anyone who had some knowledge and keen interest about para-athletics. The internet played a major role in my journey.

Representing the India at an International Level:

Representation in Paris

This time it was not district or nationals but internationals, the boy who was initially learning how to play was now getting an opportunity to represent his country in Paris. There he secured second position in Asia. It was a special moment in his professional career when he got to wear the coat with his country’s name on it. For him, it was like he had already touched the stars. It was less than a year and he achieved this all.

However, after some time, he got a high fever and lost all his strength which was crucial to perform at such a professional level. Later after 2-3 days, classification started in which they were given competitors based on their disabilities. Sachan's bad luck continued, his sports class got changed with higher class, the ones who were in a better position and had some high rate of winning the match. Sachan remained confident and started with his training sessions. He scored the fifth position and was very disheartened but still continued to work hard and put his name on a global level in the future.

After returning to India, his health was still the same and weakened further. His performance was declining, and his body was taking a heavy toll which affected him. It was so difficult for him that he couldn't even drink water. He was hospitalised again. His whole family was there in the hospital with him. The doctor diagnosed him with Hepatitis B. Sachan smiled at the doctor and said he will be fit and healthy again and get back to his training sessions soon.

Representation in China

It was in the year 2019, Sachan was not completely recovered but with his fighter spirit, he wanted to start his sports journey once again. He got a message from sports council in Patna, Bihar for nationals. Initially, no one from his family was encouraging him to register for it but he was sure and determined that he could participate and win this tournament.

He registered himself and finally brought two gold medals. He got another chance to represent India, this time it was in China. In China, he played well and scored a silver medal for the country. He made another trip abroad and visited Paris again, this time again he secured silver.

Health deteriorated again

In the year 2020, at the end of January, Sachan performed in nationals that happened in Chhattisgarh where he secured three gold medals. It was a happy moment for Sachan and his family. But later with the advent of time, Sachan got back to his house and started having problems in breathing. His family rushed him to the hospital, and he was admitted again and confined within the hospital walls.

He was in I.C.C.U on life support for a week. For the last three days during his stay at the hospital, he was unconscious. He was diagnosed with severe damage to his lungs and the doctor recommended him to undergo a surgery. To add to his problems, he was later also tested positive for Covid-19. Even after facing so many health issues that severely affected his breathing, Devershee started doing yoga exercises. By now he had completely stopped doing high intensity work outs and that added to his decline in performances.

He quotes,

“I travelled a lot nationally and internationally, my mom helped me a lot in my journey, it’s amazing but yet a big responsibility. Winning titles are just a thing, the respect, friends, mentors we earn are something which is for a lifetime”.

Though Devershee had seen many hurdles, he always fought to achieve his goal. In this lockdown, he also wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of Haryana for prioritising vaccination for the disabled which was very impactful. He is also practising for the next Olympics trials at his home. In the future, he wishes to open an academy for the especially abled who dream to join sports and provide them the boost that is required to succeed. He wants to create awareness and educate more about para-athletics and para-athletes.

He said,

I have experienced what kind of difficulties are there and if one of them has potential, it should be used in the right direction.”

Also, he wants to open a meditation centre for the ones who are suffering from anxiety issues, depression, and illnesses. He ended his words by saying,

“For me, medals are not that important, it is more for impacting lives, good and positive energy. Success is a journey, not a destiny, destiny is peace of mind.”
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