Judo goals firm despite poor vision
Buddhadeb Jana, 19, cannot read the newspaper or see an object beyond 15 metres but he can lift opponents heavier than him and flip them in a flash.
The visually impaired teenager will represent India at the Commonwealth Para Judo Championship in Walsall, Birmingham, in the UK from September 25 to 29. He is the lone participant from Bengal.
Jana, a student of Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys’ Academy in Narendrapur, had been sparring with boys with full vision at a judo camp in Andul, Howrah, over the past few weeks.
“I am not nervous. I will give it my best shot and then see what happens,” Jana told Metro a day before leaving the city for Delhi on his way to the UK. Two companies are funding his trip.
Jana’s family lives at a village in East Midnapore’s Khejuri. His father owns a small tract of farmland and works on it himself.
Born with limited vision, Jana has had five eye surgeries. He now has less than 40 per cent vision.
Jana joined the Narendrapur academy over a decade ago and took to judo in 2015. A gold medal in the national championships in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, in January sealed his berth in the Commonwealth Games. He has also won medals in swimming.
Apart from practising daily at the academy, Jana had also been training at the Andul academy. “He has a strong grip and a very sharp memory. He picks up moves very quickly,” said Dibyendu Hatua, the judo trainer at the Narendrapur academy.
Jana is not nervous about the competition but is working on his language skills. The Buckingham Palace is on his travel bucket list.