Who is Nishad Kumar? All you need to know about the high-jumper who set an Asian record at the Paralympics
Nishad Kumar won the silver medal at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in men's high jump T47 event after he cleared the bar set at 2.06m on Sunday. With the leap, he also set a new Asian record but fell short of clinching the gold as United States' Roderick Townsend-Roberts finished on top with a new world record of 2.15m.
Both Kumar and Dallas Wise finished with a score of 2.06m but since the Indian had crossed the 2.02m mark in his first attempt while his opponent took two leaps, Kumar was awarded the silver.
"I knew that both the American high jumpers would only start competing from the 2.02m mark because we have to declare beforehand what are the marks we are targeting. I was not sure that I would win a medal but I was confident that I would perform well,” said Nishad.
T47 class is meant for athletes with a unilateral upper limb impairment resulting in some loss of function at the shoulder, elbow, and wrist.
Kumar hails from the Badaun village in Himachal Pradesh's Una district. His family is into farming and from a very early age, he would tend to the field. However, at the age of six, his hand got cauught into a fodder-cutting machine and the arm had to be amputated.
How did Nishad Kumar take up athletics?
From the age of eight, he would actively participate in various athletics events under coach Ramesh at the Saraswati Vidya Mandir, Katohar Khurd. He started by participating in the sprint events like the 200m and 400m apart from doing high jump. Interestingly, he competed in general categories earlier in his career. He even won a high jump silver medal in the sub-junior category at the 2013 National School Games in Patiala.
It was in 2017 that he started competing in the para category and also began training under Naseem Ahamed, coach of Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra, and Vikram Chaudhary. After receiving professional help, he improved by leaps and bounds. He won silver at the National Para Athletics Championship at Panchkula with a jump of 1.83m.
“When he came to train, we were impressed by his height and the way he took advantage of it. He had learnt the basics of the Fosbury Flop technique on TV but we had to work a lot in improving him. He had made jumps of 1.40-1.55m in the general category and we made him spend time on vertical jumps on a board apart from standing jumps near the pit box and the high jump area," told Ahamd to Indian Express.
After the body balance and technique were in sync he would do 50-60 jumps for four days a week. Before travelling to Tokyo, he went to Bengaluru to train under coach Satyanarayan, who also happens to be the trainer of Mariyappan Thangavelu.
What are Nishad Kumar's achievements?
1. Bronze medal at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships.
2. Gold medal at the Fazza World Para Athletics Grand Prix
3. Silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.