Next Stop’s Olympics for Gold Medallist Para-Athlete Army Man
Subedar Anandan Gunasekaran, 32, returned to the Madras Sappers headquarters in Bengaluru to a hero’s welcome.
He went home after a triumphant streak at the World Military Games in China earlier this month where Gunasekaran was the proud winner of three gold medals for the country – in the 100m, 200m, 400m events, while also breaking the Asian record.
He lost his leg in a mine blast at the LoC in 2008. Gunasekaran had a blade fitted on to his body by the Army, enabling him to pursue sports competitively.
Gunasekaran is the first Indian to bag a medal at the World Para Military Games. “My future plan is the Olympics. I want to win a medal there and raise the Indian flag high. I had 1.5 years of good preparation, on priority. I practiced with a lot of commitment and focus, that’s how I was able to win three medals. It feels great and because of the Indian Army, I was able to do so well,” he said.
Years of Recovery and Training
Gunasekaran said, “On 4 June 2008, I had gone along the LOC at Tungwali post in J&K’s Naugam sector for the LoC fencing clearance. On my way back, after I had completed the work, there was a mine blast. Right after the blast, I fell on my left side would have fallen 200 ft and at a high speed. But I hit my shoulder on a big block of ice and my body twisted to the right side.”
What followed was an amputation and six months of rehabilitation and recovery. Gunasekaran confessed that he didn’t tell his family about the accident until he had recovered.
“I had not told my family, parents at home, that I had been in an accident until I had recovered. I wanted to go home able bodied and walking, that’s what was in my mind. I practiced walking with the help of two sticks, then one stick, and was able to walk, jog on the treadmill and then on the road. Slowly, slowly, I ran 2.5 km in 9 minutes, I recovered well and had confidence in my body. That helped my will power.”Anandan Gunasekaran
Next Stop: Olympics 2020
A life-long runner, Gunasekaran said he will never stop running. His record-breaking achievements at multiple events this year have qualified him to take part in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
“I will definitely continue. This is my home, and this is my family. Because of them I have come so far, I feel good. I got my blade in February 2014 and in June I was able to win my (first) medal in Africa. It is their encouragement which has helped me get this far. My future plan is the Olympics. I want to win a medal there and hoist the Indian flag high,” he said.
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