At 40 years of age, Prakash Nanjappa will be making his first appearance at the Olympic Games in Rio. But a little-known fact about the pistol shooter is that he suffered from a massive paralytic stroke during the 2013 ISSF World Cup held in Granada. The shooter was struck with the sudden stroke as he was about to participate in the event in Spain.
The doctors had subsequently diagnosed the shooter with Bell’s palsy – a type of paralysis where the muscles on the right side of the face are affected. But the shooter did not give up on health and most importantly his shooting.
The shooter had come back to India from Canada in 2009 after quitting his job as a software engineer in the North American nation. After doing well at the international circuit, the shooter was finally getting used to competing at the highest level but the tragedy happened.
However, Nanjappa was immediately treated by the best doctors who told him that the shooter can no longer compete in shooting. But, the Indian would not give up so easily and decided to work hard and finally made his return in just three months in October 2013. He won a silver medal in the 50m air pistol at the Asian Shooting Championships held in Tehran in October 2013 and had proved his doctors and critics wrong in style.
The shooter spoke to the Olympic News Service ahead of the Games, “The scariest part was when the doctor said I would have to stop shooting. That motivated me to come back. When it happened, I looked at myself in the mirror and something was wrong with my face, it was frightening. It looked like my shooting career would be over.”
The shooter further added that his age is just a number which does not make any difference in the way he shoots. Prakash Nanjappa’s story of coming back from illness to feature as the oldest Indian debutant at the Rio Olympics deserves huge applause. The country will be hoping that the pistol shooter can bag a medal as he will be competing in the 10m air pistol and 50m pistol events at the Games.