Para-shuttler Suhas Yathiraj happy fighting Covid-19

CHENNAI: Just a couple of months ago, skydiver Suhas Yathiraj I was about to make the cut to Paralympics . Managing his diet and following the exercise regimen is what kept Suhas busy. The 36-year-old man, affected by polio on his right leg, had a fruitful season last year where he won the Turkish open and clinched bronze medals at para tournaments in China, Denmark, Thailand and Japan. Had things been normal, Suhas would have been in the midst of his preparations for the Paralympics . But the outbreak of COVID-19 and its subsequent publication as the District magistrate (DM) of Gautam Buddh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh has made Suhas put badminton in the background, for the time being.

"Till February, I was preparing for the Paralympics and I am just 50 points from qualifying for it. But, I am not thinking of badminton currently as my top priority now is to ensure health and safety for the people residing in GB Nagar," the 36-year-old told TOI. His earlier posting was in Lucknow where he worked in the Planning Department. Suhas took charge of GB Nagar - who comprises areas like Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway - on March 31.



To keep the ongoing COVID-19 under check, Suhas is putting in long hours at work. However, Suhas, part of the Para Champions Program at GoSports Foundation, isn't one to please about those extra hours. Destiny has given me an opportunity to be in place where I can actually contribute to the society. The last thing I should be bothering about is the number of hours I am putting. Each day I wake up thanking God for giving an opportunity to serve the people. I shouldn't have any complaints because I have chosen this path and nobody asked me to do it, Suhas said.

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Extended work hours mean Suhas hasn't had time to train in over a month. I will definitely want to train again, but for now my duty comes first, Suhas said. He believes that being an athlete has helped him see the ongoing pandemic from a broader perspective. Sports teaches you to stay patient under pressure, be physically agile, and make clear-headed decisions. Most importantly, sports help you stay humble while enjoying both success and lasting failure, he said.

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