Sanjeev Kumar strikes a pose
Sanjeev Kumar strikes a pose

Funded by late father's gratuity, para shuttler wins twin gold at Denmark Open

By Kartik Sood (ANI) | Updated: Oct 25, 2018 22:44 IST

Chandigarh [India], Oct 25 (ANI): While the entire country's hopes were fixated on Saina Nehwal for a coveted gold medal in Denmark Open, Sanjeev Kumar, an international para shuttler from Punjab who funded his trip after withdrawing the gratuity money received on the death of his father, had already made the country proud by grabbing the yellow metal in the same tournament.
Sanjeev, who is India's para shuttler, handed Luca Olgiati a crushing 21-18, 21-11 defeat in men's singles WH1-WH2 category.
Overall, Sanjeev won two gold medals and a bronze in the tournament. While he won a gold each in the men's singles and men's doubles event, he grabbed a mixed doubles bronze in the same category.
Interestingly, Sanjeev had faced a loss at the hands of his final opponent in the round-robin stage. But he registered a resurgent win in the final by minimising on his errors. He also defeated world number 5 Amir Levi of Israel 15-21 21-19 21-9 in a three-setter marathon battle. Levi was also the top-seeded player of the tournament.
In the men's doubles event, he paired up with Marcelo Alves of Brazil to claim the title by defeating the Israeli pair of Amir Levi and Mosha 21-16, 19-21, 21-16 in a three-game thriller.
"The tournament affects the global rankings. Considering, sad demise of my father and my injury after that, my rankings had dropped considerably. Thus, it was crucial to win a medal in the tournament," Sanjeev told ANI in a telephonic conversation.
"Neither the federation nor the government funds our trips to these tournaments. The government provides assistance in a marquee event like the Asian Games, Olympics, and Commonwealth Games. These competitions also provide us the level of the game at international level," he added.
Sanjeev trains under Surinder Mahajan at the badminton courts of Chandigarh's Sector 43. He picked up the sport in 2007. In the same year, he stormed to the quarterfinals of the Asia Cup. He came to Chandigarh in 2010 to explore better training prospects.
The world number 22 was initially in the standing category. However, the secretary of the Indian Para Badminton Association (IPBA) advised him to take to wheelchair badminton, which proved to be a blessing in disguise for Sanjeev. Courtesy the shift, he won the gold medal in the World Para Games in 2009 along with his partner Hussain of Odisha.
"I am grateful to Sandeep Jakhar (a politician from his hometown in Abohar) who encouraged me. I would also express my gratitude to the Mayo College batch of 1994 in Ajmer which sponsored the wheelchair worth Rs 4 lakh in the tournament," concluded the 32-year-old. (ANI)