Pushing the Limits
This is a guest post by Jaspreet Singh Sahni, a journalist from India. You can enjoy his writing at his blog, Star of the Day.
His movement may be restricted but his determination knows no limitation and that eggs him on to perform like a man on a mission, at times outshining his able-bodied counterparts, on the badminton court.
Tarun Dhillon is just 12 and he is visibly different from others, not because of his disability but his ability to overcome it. He was 8 when he met an unfortunate accident that seriously injured his right knee. His movement got restricted and ultimately the knee had to be operated upon, twice. Though the first surgery was unsuccessful, the second seemingly went well. “The second surgery was slightly more successful as I regained movement, but my knee was still jammed,” Tarun clarifies.
It was a year later, at 9, when he turned to badminton. “I picked up the racquet because it exercises every part of your body. My coach Rajiv Mehra has helped me a lot. Although my movement is comparatively slower than the rest on court, I just love the game,” Tarun said. His tenacity echoes in his statement: “I constantly like to challenge myself against those with no disability. It should never stop somebody from doing what they love.”
His resolve is there for everybody to see in his achievements as he began making his mark at the school and junior levels. At 11, Tarun was crowned India’s number one shuttler in the physically challenged category for juniors. Along the way, he became a gold medalist in the national championships in singles, doubles and mixed doubles events.
With success touching his feet, he landed into the hands of Prakash Padukone (former Indian international) at his academy to train for Asia cup for the disabled last December. While he finished third in the doubles event, he lost to a 35-year-old Malaysian veteran in the singles.
“When I first saw Tarun, I realised that he wanted to prove to the world that his disability is only physical. I have been coaching him since he picked up the sport. I have been training him mainly on his movements but his courage, skill and determination are extraordinary to say the least,” says his coach.
Via Star of the Day