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On her way to World Championship glory, how para-athlete Karamjyoti Dalal has braved all odds

Karam Jyo<p>" />
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 22 Jul 2017, 12:35 IST
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Karam Jyoti in action at the World Para Athletics Championships

Indian para-athlete Karamjyoti Dalal made her country beam with pride after her bronze-medal winning performance at the World Para Athletics Championships in London. Dalal's bronze came in the F-55 women's discus throw category, narrowly beating Bahrain's Alomari Roba to win the prize.

The bronze secures the third medal for India at the event and highlights big things to come with it in the future. India's best performance at the Championships so far has come from Sundar Singh Gurjar, who bagged a gold medal in the F-46 Javelin throw category while Amit Kumar Saroha managed a silver medal in the F-51 category of the men's club throw.

Karamjyoti Dayal's discus throw event saw some gripping highlights with the 30-year-old only being awarded the bronze medal following the disqualification of initial third place para-athlete, China's Yang Liwan. The disqualification allowed Karamjyoti to take a spot on the podium as her nail-biting 19.02m throw edged out her Bahrainian counterpart's throw of 19.01m by the narrowest of margins.

Also read: World Para Athletics Championships Day 5 round-up: No medal for India, narrow miss for Sandeep in F44 men's javelin

The Rio Paralympics had brought an air of hope and belief around the Indian camp last year but top prospect Karamjyoti was unable to release any fireworks as she did not even get off the mark at the event with three unsuccessful throws. Her bronze medal at the World Championships is a great indicator of her perseverance and highlights her incredible fighting spirit.

Her entire story is quite an admirable one. Based in Gurgaon, she hasn't had it easy. Coming from a humble background, Dalal often used the game kabaddi as a source to release her of the stresses at home and even made it to the national level in kabaddi before an accident changed the course of her life and career forever.

Following a fall from a terrace, Dalal's motor sensation was adversely affected and doctors deemed her unable to compete in sport any longer. At the mere age of 21, an injury like this could have spelt the end for even the most promising of athletes.

It didn't deter Dalal however and despite being bed ridden for over a year, she persevered and within another couple of years, she was almost completely mobile on a wheelchair. The determination of the athlete saw her train harder than ever and she soon decided to pursue para-athletics as her major means of competition.

“I had no idea about para-athletics, my aunt told me that something like this existed, so I gave it a shot," she had said in a previous interview with Sportskeeda. "I took to it very well. In hindsight, if I took it up when I didn’t have this problem, then I might have done better also.”

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Her meteoric rise to the very pinnacle of para-competition is staggering when you consider that she had only begun in the discus throw field when she was thrust into the big time.

She won three gold medals at the National Games, which were the catalysts behind her opportunity to represent India at the Asian Games and she was now mixing it up with some of the best para-athletes in the world. At the continental event in Beijing from 2014, she won two bronze medals.

This included a showdown with the world number 2 at the time when Dalal was just three months into her career as a full-time discus throw athlete. Quite remarkable for someone who was labelled a 'liability' just a little while ago.

She has had to face severe problems off the mat thanks to administrative lapses and indifference as well. She faced difficulties in getting funds for her trips to events across the world and the training facilities provided to her in India were next to nothing.

"We did not have proper toilets to go to, no proper equipment to practice and weren't given money to attend international events. I only got funding for the Asian Games that is it,” she said

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Her Rio outing may not have been great, but the Haryana native's response to adversity has been nothing short of sensational. She bagged a gold medal at the Fazaa International Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai soon after that and is now ranked at a healthy number 8 in the world rankings.

She has followed it up with a medal at the World Championships and the inspirational athlete that is Karamjyoti Dalal continues to work harder and harder. India couldn't be prouder of its latest top performer!

Related: Video: Watch Sundar Singh Gurjar’s gold medal-winning throw at the World Para Athletics Championships

Published 22 Jul 2017, 12:35 IST
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