Country’s top-notch para-shuttler Umesh Vikram, who won recently bagged a bronze medal in men’s doubles at the BWF Para Badminton World Championship at Basel in Switzerland in August, has rivetted his attention on the Paralympics to be held in Tokyo next year.
The 27-year-old, an engineer with Tata Steel, is looking at a stellar performance in four Olympic qualifiers to be held in Denmark, Japan, Peru and Brazil between October and February. Medals in these events will keep him in good stead in making it to the Paralympics.
“I am off to Denmark today (Sunday) for the tournament scheduled from October 20 to 25. I am feeling confident after the bronze at the world championship in Switzerland. All the four tournaments are important and I would not like to disappoint myself and my fans,” Umesh said, adding that he will have to wait till March to know whether he had made it to the Paralympics.
Umesh’s right leg was afflicted with polio when he was 18 months old, but he did not let that hold him back. “Badminton has been included in Paralympics for the first time. Competition will be very tough. But challenges don’t bog me down. I have overcome many challenges in my life,” he said.
Currently ranked sixth in the world, he thanked Tata Steel for the much-needed support. “Tata Steel has excellent infrastructure and coaches to groom my talent. I had approached the company’s sports wing and Tata Steel welcomed me with open arms and provided me all the support that an athlete requires.”