Residents of Jewar in Uttar Pradesh erupted with joy on Friday after local boy Praveen Kumar clinched silver medal in high jump at the Paralympics in Tokyo. The school principal of the 18-year-old Kumar, who hails from Govindgarh village in the Gautam Buddh Nagar district in western UP, said the boy had always been a shining star.
“We knew he would bring laurels to Jewar and India. We had hoped for a Gold medal but his Silver is as good. Today, he has become the child of India from being the child of Jewar,” Deepti Sharma, principal of Pragyan Public School, Jewar, told PTI. Harish Kumar Sharma, the school director, said his pupil’s victory at the world stage has proved that talent, wherever it is, will find its way to success.
“He has proved that talent ultimately finds its way. We just need to let the youngsters follow their own path and identify their talent, Sharma said. He lamented that often children from rural areas do not get a platform to exhibit and hone their skills.”
“In 2019, we had suggested that he move to Delhi to train, especially for the Paralympic games. Sometimes youngsters don’t get the right platform near their home. The boy from Uttar Pradesh had to go to Delhi for training,” Sharma added. His school teachers Naushad Saifi, Fareed Aalam, K P Singh, Dheeraj Singh and Shailendra Singh Solanki too expressed joy at the performance of Kumar, who was competing in his debut Paralympics and set a new Asian record with a 2.07m jump.
Kumar, who has a leg amputation and uses prosthetics, also used to participate in long jump games before settling for high jump, his teachers said. Exhibiting pride at Kumar’s victory, MLA Jewar Dhirendra Singh said the event showed that talent from rural areas is coming to the forefront in a big way.
“We will accord him a grand welcome. I have been working for development of villages and rural areas in my constituency, but I’ll make sure to keep development of sports facilities for youngsters in Jewar in the coming days,” Singh told PTI.
The BJP leader, buoyed by Kumar’s Silver-winning performance, said he was hoping for another medal from Gautam Buddh Nagar DM and IAS officer Suhas L Yathiraj, who is also representing India at the Paralympics in singles Badminton.