Maharashtra’s handicapped sprinter Dilip Gavit can’t recall when his right hand was amputated. The situation occurred due to gangrene when he was a kid. But the son of a small-time farmer from the Gujarat-Maharashtra border firmly believes he isn’t inferior to anyone.
With that resolve, Dilip Gavit competed with able-body athletes in the under-20 boys’ group at the third National Open 400m Championships on Monday. The two-day competition is being organized here at the Jawaharlal Nehru eight-lane warmup track.
Dilip Gavit clocked 49.89 seconds to finish second in his heats to advance to the final of the U20 boys’ group. The final race is on Tuesday.
Representing Maharashtra in the competition, Dilip Gavit had something to spare after running a sub-50 seconds in the heats. The top two in each of the three heats and two fastest runners qualified for the final race scheduled for Tuesday.
“I am ready for the final. I wasn’t tired after my heat on Monday. I could have run faster. But I am satisfied with my performance. I will push hard in the final on Tuesday,” said Dilip Gavit after making the cut for the final.
Dilip's coach is also his legal guardian
Dilip Gavit was spotted by his coach-cum- guardian Vaijanth Dayanand Kale six years back during a local school meet in Maharashtra. Impressed by Dilip Gavit’s sprinting abilities, the coach selected him for his Nasik-based sports foundation in Maharashtra.
As per the rule book, the coach has also designed a small stand to support Dilip Gavit during takeoff from the starting blocks.
“We made the stand as per the rule book so that Dilip Gavit feels comfortable during a crouch start mandatory in sprint events like 400m,” said the coach.
The coach has also legally adopted Dilip Gavit.
“He is like my parents. He takes care of my health and education. I am here because of my coach and guardian,” said Dilip Gavit.
After the heats, Dilip Gavit and his coach chalked out plans for Tuesday’s final race.
“He (Dilip) has the ability to run 400m below 49 seconds. I hope he will prove himself in the medal round,” said his coach-cum-guardian.
Vaijanth Dayanand Kale’s future plans are to make Dilip Gavit compete regularly with able body athletes. He believes that’s the way Dilip will become mentally strong and perform better in para competitions.
“I want Dilip Gavit to regularly compete with able body athletes so that he becomes mentally strong and can give his best when he competes during para events,” said Dilip’s coach.
Dilip Gavit missed the Tokyo Paralympic Games because his classification was pending due to pandemic, said his coach.
“Dilip Gavit was supposed to go to Paris for his classification event before the Tokyo Paralympic Games but couldn’t get visa due to pandemic,” added the coach.
The performance at the third National Open 400m Championships said Dilip Gavit’s coach will enable them to prepare better for the 2022 Para Asian Games.
“Dilip Gavit is training hard. He stands a good chance of winning a medal in the 2022 Para Asian Games,” concluded the coach.