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Sharad Kumar
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7
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60-90
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Nationwide
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Hindi
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Sharad Kumar

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Sharad Kumar is an Indian para high jumper who represented India at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. He was ranked as the world no. 1 para high jumper after breaking a 12-year Asian Games record at the 2014 Asian Para Games.At the age of 2, Sharad suffered from a paralysis attack that made his left leg completely paralysed after he took spurious polio medicine.Sharads journey of becoming a high jumper began in 1995 when he was enrolled at St. Pauls School, a boarding school in Darjeeling, where he was balancing his education and sports very well. He was the only handicapped student in his class but never faced any stigma for being differently-abled until one day when he was not allowed to run in an athletic event held at his school. It was at this moment when Sharad felt that he needed to work on himself and participate in sports.Sharad drew his inspiration to take up high jump as a career from his schools senior players who practised high jump, and Sharad used to watch them in his free time.Sharad Kumars brother proved to be the biggest support for Sharad. It was only him who took all the responsibilities of Sharad for continuing with his passion when no one else, including the sports authorities of their school, was supporting him. In an interview, Sharad talked about his brother. He said, My brother motivated me to be a high jumper. I broke all his records at school and it gave me the confidence to take the sport seriously. After St. Pauls [school] I started training myself to be part of the national Paralympic team in Delhi..After vigorous training, Sharad won almost all high jump competitions held at his school. By seeing his efforts, his grade 4 teacher Mr Denis, told him to participate in the Paralympics after which he went to Delhi to enrol himself at the Modern School, Barakhamba Road, Delhi, a school popular for sports training. Sharad Kumars moments he won in his school competitions.Sharad Kumar marked his international debut at the 2010 Asian Para Games, held in Guangzhou, China. Next, he qualified ffor the 2012 London Paralympics, making a 1.64m mark with his high jump.In 2012, Sharad Kumar became the worlds no. 1 para high jumper at the age of 19, marking a jump of 1.75m at the Malaysian Open Para Athletics Championship. 2012 proved to be a miserable year for Sharad as he was tested positive in a drug case and was banned for two consecutive years, which also lead to cancellation for participation at the 2012 London Paralympics. On being asked about the incident in 2012, Sharad said, I dont want to recall that period of my life. It was a nightmare for me. It all happened by mistake. I dont want to say anything about this. I was tested positive but I didnt do it intentionally. I wasnt aware of it even. It was actually a tough time, which tormented me from inside. I used to cry blood. I many times locked myself in a room and burst into tears. Now, I have forgotten it as a bad dream. I tried to convince NADA (National Anti Doping Agency), but when I was tested positive, there was no use in banging my head again and again. I was completely devastated. I used to feel ashamed that I am fighting a doping case. But I couldnt explain the officials. Sharad Kumar won a silver medal at the London Paralympics 2021.Sharad made his spectacular comeback in 2014, winning a gold medal, breaking a 12-year Asian Games record with a 1.80m jump, and becoming the worlds no. 1 para high jumper. In 2016, Sharad Kumar participated in Rio Paralympics 2016 but could finish at the 6th position only.Sharad Kumar bagged a silver medal with a jump of 1.84m at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships. He then won a gold medal, making a new game record and continental record with a 1.90m jump, with a 1.90m jump at the 2018 Para Asan Games, held in Jakarta. Talking about his gold win at the Para Asan Games, Sharad said, Honestly, I got goosebumps and it took some minutes for me to realise that I have won the gold medal. I was emotional on the podium but did not want to cry. Watching the tricolour being hoisted and hearing the National Anthem was an amazing feeling. I can still feel the moment. He further added, I didnt know about that. After I performed and was awarded the gold medal, then my team members told me about the record. It was like a cherry on the cake for me. https://youtu.be/QQyC6UJT8Uk.

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