New Delhi: In India, people are obsessed with cricket and because of that, other sports where India excels are overshadowed. India has been producing brilliant players in several sports categories and we all owe it to them to bring such international acclaim, especially the para athletes.
Devershee Sachan, 25, a resident of Gurugram started thinking about his sports career in 2017 when he heard about Paralympics on the radio. Out of curiosity, he learnt more about this from Google. He is four times gold medalist for the years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, he has represented India in Para Asian games.
He watched many videos and also wrote emails to the International Paralympic Committee, Germany. He got their response after 2-3 days where they sent him the registration form. Devershee got excited but at the same time worried about other stuff like finding a coach, which was again a big task for him.
After many weeks also, he was not able to find any coach so he decided to start on his own. He kept on reminding himself that he is a fighter and no matter what he will do, anything good will happen.
Devershee was pursuing an interior designing course and also working on learning more about how to be a para athlete.
Para games were still not widely popular
Devershee mailed the Paralympics Committee in India for the registration process. Later he participated in Khel Mahakumbh (district level games). At first, the management people of the Khel Mahakumbh did not know about para-games. But then Devershee educated them and finally, he was allowed to play. He won gold in Shot Put 3 kg and silver in discus throw 1 kg.
He then participated in the state championship where the sports organisation allotted him a sports class referred as an f-32 class, where athletes can throw while sitting on a platform. He won 2 gold medals in the Shot Put 3 kg and club throw which is similar to a discus throw of 490 grams.
Devershee continued his journey as a fighter and he played his first nationals which were held in Panchkula and yet again in the first match, he won 2 gold medals and a national record in club throw. Sachan said, “The biggest challenge I faced was to find a coach for myself, I couldn't find anyone who had some knowledge about para-sports, it’s odd and surprising. The internet played a major role in my journey.|
Representing India in Paris
This time it was not district or nationals but internationals, the boy who was initially learning how to play was now getting an opportunity to represent his country in Paris. There he secured second position in Asia. It was a very emotional moment for Devershee and for anybody wearing the coat with their country’s name on it. For him, it was like he had already touched the stars. It was less than a year and he achieved this all.
However, after some time, he got a high fever and lost all his strength which was needed a lot for his game. Later after 2-3 days, classification started in which they were given competitors based on their disabilities. Sachan's bad luck continued, his sports class got changed with higher class, the ones who were in a better position and had some high rate of winning the match. Sachan didn’t take the step back and started with his training session. He scored the fifth position and was very disheartened.
After returning to India, Sachan was still not better with his health. His stats were declining and his body was not taking anything. It was so difficult for him that he couldn't even drink water. He was hospitalised again. His whole family was there in the hospital with him. The doctor diagnosed him with Hepatitis B. Sachan smiled at the doctor and said he will be fine soon.
Representing India in China
It was in the year 2019, Sachan was not completely recovered but with his fighter spirit, he wanted to start his sports journey once again. He got a message from Patna, Bihar for nationals. Initially, no one from his family was encouraging him to register for it but he was sure and determined that he can win this match.
He registered himself and finally brought two gold medals. Now it was time for Sachan to represent India again, this time in China. In China, he played well and scored a Silver medal for the country. He made another trip abroad and visited Paris again, this time again he secured silver.
Health deteriorated again
In the year 2020, at the end of January, Sachan performed in nationals that happened in Chhattisgarh where he secured three gold medals. It was a happy moment for Sachan and his family. But later as things moved on, Sachan got back to his house and started having problems in breathing. His family rushed him to the hospital and was admitted again. He was on life support for a week. For the last three days, he was unconscious. He was then shifted to ICU. He was diagnosed with lung damage and the doctor recommended surgery. He was then also tested covid positive. He started doing some yoga exercises but stopped doing throwing workouts because of low immunity.
“I travelled a lot nationally and internationally, my mom helped me a lot in my journey, it’s amazing but yet a big responsibility. Winning titles are just a thing, the respect, friends, mentors we earn are something which is for a lifetime”.
Though Sachan had seen many hurdles, he always fought to achieve his goal. In this lockdown, he also wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of Haryana for prioritising inoculation for the disabled which was very impactful. He is also practising for the next Olympics trials at his home. In the future, he wishes to open an academy for the specially-abled who dreamt to join sports. He wants to create awareness and educate more about para-athletes.
He said, “I have experienced what kind of difficulties are there and if one of them has potential, it should be used in the right direction.” Also, he wants to open a meditation centre for the ones who are suffering from anxiety issues and illness. He ended his words by saying, “For me, medals are not that important, it is more for impacting lives, good and positive energy. Success is a journey, not a destiny, destiny is peace of mind.”