The 22-year-old Sundar Singh Gurjar, who is a Javelin thrower has thought about attempting suicide twice in his life. The first time he thought about this was when he lost his arm in a freak accident in 2015. On both the occasions, he overcame the decision to take his own life. The athlete’s determination paid off as he bagged gold in 2017, which was a Para Worlds medal in London.
Sundar Singh Gurjar Breaks record
Sundar Singh Gurjar broke the world record set by Devendra Jhajharia at the Paralympics in Rio. This was the event Sundar could not participate because he did not hear the ‘call’ though he was in the waiting room.
In Bengaluru, at the PCI Indian Open Para Athletics championship, he won a javelin gold (F-46) with a 64.11-metre throw. Which overtook Jhajharia’s 63.97m record.
“It’s been a huge struggle to reach here. I had lost the will to live after the Rio incident. It took me four months to even get back to the training ground. I would go reluctantly, but then something happened,” says Sundar Singh Gurjar.
Sundar’s coach since 2009, Mahaveer shared a motivational video with the ward. The video was about legendary Hungarian shooter Karoly Takacs.
Takacs’s story in brief: He was left out of the 1936 Olympic squad as he was a sergeant then and rules allowed only commissioned officers to take part in the Games. The rule was subsequently lifted, but two years later he lost his right arm, the one he used to shoot with, because of a faulty grenade. He trained in secret and learned to shoot with his left arm. The next two editions of the Games were called off due to the second World War. But he finally won gold in the 25m rapid fire pistol in back-to-back Olympics —1948 and 1952.
“I missed out on one of the Paralympics, and here this man had to wait for over a decade to fulfill his Olympic dream. It changed my outlook completely. I knew I had wasted enough time thinking about the past and started taking my training seriously again,” said Sundar Singh Gurjar.
Determination of Sundar Singh Gurjar
Sundar Singh Gurjar whose favorite movie is Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, trains for eight hours a day on an average. Since then, motivational videos and sports biopics have become a significant part of his online video consumption.
Coach Mahaveer had said the particular emphasis is laid on strength training apart from the various drills.
“His USP is his strength, and we want to harness it further. He is very young and has a lot of potential. I can assure you that he will breach the 70-meter mark in the near future,” Mahaveer says
The coach has been training Sundar for over seven years now, and it was on his advice that he switched from shotput to javelin when he was 13.
Sundar had said that if it had not been for Mahaveer, achieving a world record would have been a dream. It was Mahaveer who gave him strength and support when Sundar lost his left arm while helping his parents build a shed at the age of 19. The incident forced Sundar to switch to the para discipline and he quickly made a name for himself.
At the International IPC International Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai in 2017, India achieved five gold medals, from which three belonged to Sundar. These three gold were obtained in the field of Javelin, Discus and shot put.
“Imagine, this is all you dreamt of and all of sudden I’m told you can’t participate. My body was numb for a second. After the Rio incident, I told my coach I will commit suicide. But he motivated and advised me. He was so concerned about me that he wouldn’t let me be alone even for a moment. Even while I used the washroom he would patiently wait outside,” Sundar said.
Mahaveer had to follow the routine until his ward achieved the first gold by an Indian at the World Para Athletics Championships in 2017. “But now things are different. Sundar is very positive and will do extremely well at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta.”
Breaking the world record did not make his pain vanish, It has just eased a bit “I will overcome the pain only after I win a Paralympic Gold. And I know I will.”