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Soldier who lost leg to mine blast in 2006 qualifies for Tokyo Paralympics

Trained at the Army Paralympic Node, located at the Bombay Engineer Group and Centre in Pune under the aegis of Army Sports Control Board, Rana is already an accomplished international para-athlete and stands second in world rankings in his category.

Havildar Soman Rana (Express Photo)

On December 1, 2006, while serving his unit, Havildar Soman Rana suffered a mine blast injury and lost his right leg. While loss of a limb could mean the end to the sporting journey for most people, Rana, staying true to the spirit of the Indian Army, fought his fears and continued his para-athletics training with determination. Fifteen years later, Rana, now 38, has qualified for the seated shot put in F-57 category for the Tokyo Paralympics to be held between August 24 and September 5.

Trained at the Army Paralympic Node, located at the Bombay Engineer Group and Centre in Pune under the aegis of Army Sports Control Board, Rana is already an accomplished international para-athlete and stands second in world rankings in his category.

Hailing from a humble family in Shillong, Meghalaya, Rana was inducted into the Army Paralympic Node in 2017. The node provides a platform to specially abled soldiers to pursue para sports and develop a positive perspective in life. “Since its raising in 2017, para-athletes of the node have won 28 international medals and 60 national medals. They have represented and won medals for India in Asian Para Games, World Military Games, World Para Championship and World Grand Prix events,” said a statement from the Army issued through the Defence Public Relations Officer (PRO), Pune.

Earlier this year, despite all the Covid-related restrictions, Rana won a gold medal in Tunis World Para Athletics Grand Prix and two gold medals along with a silver medal in XIX National Athletics Para Championship. “Soman Rana has done our country proud and is an inspiration for all the para-athletes in the Indian Army. He is a strong medal prospects to win a medal in Tokyo Paralympics,” said the press statement.

A senior Army officer said, “Loss of a limb is often accompanied by its psychological ramifications. At the Army Paralympic Node, scientifically-oriented efforts are taken towards overall training and development of the athlete as per the international standards. The node is currently training several para-athletes with promising future prospects.”

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