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India’s Paralympic Games silver medalist Praveen Kumar aims to explore new boundaries, plans to compete in high jump at World U20 Championships

Praveen Kumar in action at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics (Image courtesy: Getty Images)
Praveen Kumar in action at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics (Image courtesy: Getty Images)
Navneet Singh

India’s 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games silver medalist in the T64 high jump, Praveen Kumar and his coach Satyapal Singh have ambitious goals for this season. One of the goals is to compete at the World U20 Athletics Championship scheduled to be held in Colombia from August 1-6.

“We want to do things differently this year," the Dronacharya awardee explained. "Competing with able-bodied athletes will make Kumar tough as well as broaden his horizon. Exploring new boundaries will keep us busy on the field and enable us to learn new things.”

Besides the high jump, Kumar's plans are to compete in 100m and the long jump at the Asian Para Games in China later this year.

The 18-year-old para-high jumper made in-roads into the new territory by competing at the 25th National Federation Cup Athletics Championships held earlier this month in Kozhikode, Kerala.

According to Kumar, it was a nervous start to the competition as other athletes in the fray were far taller than him. Sarvesh Kushare of Maharashtra, the eventual winner, cleared 2.25m.

“I stayed calm as the competition progressed," Kumar said of his experience. "In the end, couldn’t believe myself that I finished sixth overall by clearing 2.05m."

Based out of Delhi, the international para-athlete couldn’t achieve his 2.10m goal in the Federation Cup as he sprained his ankle half-way through the competition.

Kumar was the youngest Indian to win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. His performance of 2.07m was an Asian record in the T64 category.

“Kumar is more fit than last year," Kumar’s coach said. "During practice, he regularly crosses the bar at 2.10m. He has to repeat the same performance in competition now."

The 20th National Federation Cup U20 Athletics Championships, to be held from June 2-4 in Gujarat, will provide the Paralympic silver medalist another chance to scale new boundaries.

“We are on the track," the coach concluded. "It’s just a matter of time to click at the right moment.”

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee

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