22-year-old talented para-swimmer from Solapur, Maharashtra, Suyash Jadhav, has emerged as the first Indian para-swimmer to have achieved an ‘A’ qualifying mark for Rio 2016 Paralympics.
In spite of being a double-amputee, Suyash has battled all odds with his courage & hard work and has left no stone unturned in proving his potential as a swimmer.
Suyash has been signed by Speedo and in an exclusive interview with SwimIndia, the young lad shares his experience about his journey to Rio 2016 Paralympics.
In which events will you be competing in Rio 2016 Paralympics?
I will be participating in S7 category in the following events:
Men’s 50m Butterfly – Achieved ‘A’ Qualification Time
Men’s 50m Freestyle – Achieved ‘B’ Qualification Time
Men’s 200m Individual Medley - Achieved ‘B’ Qualification Time
How many more para-swimmers from India will accompany you for the mega event?
Right now I am the only para-swimmer selected to represent India in Rio 2016 Paralympics, however, 14th August 2016 is the last date for selection trials. My Coach Prasanta Karmakar will accompany me to Rio.
Tell us about your journey in swimming
I started swimming at a very young age. However, due to a tragic accident both arms had to be amputated. My father being a national swimmer wanted me to be a swimmer as well, due to which I resumed swimming in 2007 and started participating in meets.
What brought about the change to look ahead? Where did you derive inspiration from?
My Coach encouraged me to continue to train and Mr. Chandrashekar from the Paralympic Association helped me to succeed and participate in IWAS World Games 2015 held in Sochi, Russia.
Ashok Deshpande and Kalpana Agashe, who trained me in Pune have also been my source of motivation they are the very reason for my achievements today.
Now that you have qualified for Rio 2016 Paralympics, what are you looking forward to?
I have very less time to train and I have to train harder to improve my timing. Right now my sole aim is to qualify for the finals in Rio 2016 Paralympics. Following Rio 2016 Paralympics, I am aiming at the 2018 Asian Para Games and win more laurels for our country.
How and where are you currently training for Rio 2016 Paralympics?
I have temporarily moved to Bangalore and I am training with my coach Prasanta Karmakar in Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre. Currently my rigorous training regime includes 2 to 2.5 hours in the morning, 1.5 hours in the afternoon and another 2.5 hours in the evening.
Who were you training with before moving to Bangalore?
Before moving to Bangalore I was training with Kalpana Agashe and Ashok Deshpande in Pune from 2009 to 2015.
What are you doing other than swimming?
I am passionate to pursue higher studies and whenever I get a chance I am preparing for competitive exams like the UPSC.
What kind of support have you received so far?
I have been extremely grateful to some of the organisations like the Speedo, Deccan Gymkhana, GoSports Foundation and the Sports Authority of India. Post Olympics l look forward for their continued support in future competitions.
Where do you think the support system in India should grow stronger as far as swimming and para-swimming is concerned?
There is huge difference in facilities for swimmers and para-swimmers in India. Para-swimmers do not get as recognised as regular swimmers. I have not found such a difference in facilities in other countries. It is high time the people and the society change their view and outlook towards the disabled.
I hope to bring about this most-needed change in the attitude of people with my success.
But things are changing now with Brands like Speedo who are helping the Sport to grow. I am really happy with all the support coming to me from Speedo and for putting their trust in me.
Tell us about your family
I have two sisters, elder and younger. My father is a sports teacher and my mother is a housewife. Infact, my mother has been a great support and has moved out from Solapur, my hometown, to help me in Bangalore.
You have made a great mark at the international level, do people in Solapur recognise you?
Since newspapers have my pictures and articles published more often, people have recognised me in my hometown, but that are very few occurrences.
What would you like to convey to the budding sportspersons in India?
Having lost my both arms hasn’t stopped me from achieving and I have taken it positively. I would like to tell them that, “you can accomplish anything with sheer hardwork. Always think of what you have and not what you don’t have.”
SwimIndia is immensely thankful to Suyash for instilling confidence and filling us with inspiration. We are proud of his achievements so far, and we hope he makes our country proud with more feats to come and wish him All the Very Best!