The irony of Indian sports today has reached such a level that no aspiring athletes have reached to the top without fighting financial and family hardships. We come across so many inspiring stories of Indian athletes that despite a humble background have shown their prowess at international sporting events. Two such young and aspiring athletes are Vikas Yadav and Arpit Yadav. And according to many track and field experts they are touted to become the future stars of Indian sports.
Aspiring Athletes – Vikas Yadav and Arpit Yadav
What is it like to practice with makeshift wooden javelins and mocked by people? Ask, Vikas Yadav. How does it feel to be a farmer’s son who pursues sports? Ask, Arpit Yadav.
Aspiring athletes Vikas Yadav (75.02m) and Arpit Yadav (71.90) claimed gold and bronze medals in the javelin throw event of the Khelo India School Games. In his moment of glory, Vikas did found a fan in- none other than Devendra Jhajharia, who is India’s only double gold medal winner in javelin throw at the 2004 and 2016 Paralympics.
“Vikas performed extremely well. If he gets the Khelo India scholarship, it will be invaluable for him. He looks like a medal prospect in the 2024 Olympics. I’m hoping he raises his game,” said Jhajharia.
Both Vikas (17) and Arpit (16) dream of representing India at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Vikas, who hails from Kaulapur, Bhadohi district, had a modest introduction to the sport.
“My parents and elder brother always supported me. Also, my first coach (Collector Singh) helped me a lot. He got my first pair of spikes.”
Arpit, whose father is a farmer, had a much tougher ride. Hailing from a family of six siblings, meeting the daily needs was always a fight. Now his elder brother, who got a job in the Central Reserve Police Force, supports his dreams.
Story of these Aspiring Athletes
When Vikas started, he used to practice with makeshift javelins made from wood and aluminium, but they would break often upon impact. Arpit, who belongs from Mau in Allahabad district, had to wait endlessly for his seniors to hand him down discarded javelins, which he used for practice.
“My parents used to question why I am spending so much time making a javelin when I should have been sleeping. People who didn’t know me would mock me for wasting time,” said Vikas.
“People have always heckled and tried to pull me down by saying that nothing is going to change no matter how much effort I put in. It’s better to study than play. Nobody has ever told me to play,” added Arpit.
Vikas’ story turned around when he was spotted by his current coach, Rakesh Rawat. He then went on to establish a new national record at the 33rd Junior National Athletics. Once Vikas started winning medals regularly, the perspective of those who mocked him changed.
“The behaviour of all those who used mock me changed. Now they call to wish me before every major tournament. They watched me perform live on Facebook this morning,” said Vikas.
The majority of javelin throwers are based out of Allahabad. Arpit trains under the acclaimed javelin coach Rustam Khan.
“The country’s best javelin throwers have come out of Allahabad. It’s a proof that Rustam sir produces champions regularly,” said Arpit.
Both Vikas and Arpit Yadav draw inspiration from their seniors such as Rajesh Kumar Bind, who represented India at the 2012 Junior World Championship in Barcelona and broke the national record with a throw of 80.14 metres, Asian Athletics Championship medallist, Abhishek Singh and 2004 Youth Commonwealth Games medallist Arun Kumar Patel among others.
We hope these aspiring athletes from India get good support their respective associations and win more medals for India.