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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

With Paralympics silver, Suhas Yathiraj smashes his way to IAS archives

Suhas Yathiraj, who has an impairment in one of his ankles, went down 21-15, 17-21, 15-21 to two-time world champion Lucas Mazur in men's singles SL4 class summit clash at the Tokyo Paralympics.

By: PTI |
Updated: September 5, 2021 4:28:48 pm
Suhas Yathiraj, badminton, ParalympicsSuhas Athiraj in action during men's singles SU4 gold medal badminton match at the Tokyo Paralympics. (AP)

Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) District Magistrate and shuttler Suhas Yathiraj’s Paralympics run culminated with a silver medal for India on Sunday, with the journey also earning him a place in the annals of Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

The 38-year-old Suhas, who was outdone by his 23-year-old top seed French rival Lucas Mazur in a thriller of a final, became the only IAS officer to have not only participated but also won a medal in the Paralympics.

“Congratulations Suhas L Y, IAS, DM G B Nagar (Noida) for winning the silver medal in men’s singles SL4 para-badminton at Tokyo Paralympics. We and the entire nation are proud of you,” the IAS Association, a group of serving and retired central administrative officers, tweeted.

The Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, too, chipped in with a congratulatory message for the Karnataka-born UP cadre IAS officer, who has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic management in Gautam Buddh Nagar since end of March 2020.

Secretary, Inter-State Council Secretariat of Union Home Ministry, Sanjeev Gupta also heaped praise on the 2007-batch IAS officer for his achievement.

“Suhas wins hearts. India lose another 63 min cliffhanger. He led in decider too but change of court at 11-10 turned the tables. Stupendous achievement for which nation is proud. Sadly, 2nd seed Tarun too loses Bronze play off. Avani Lekhara couldn’t make to the finals in the mixed event,” the senior IAS officer tweeted.

‘I’ve never been so happy and disappointed at the same time’

Indian shuttler-cum-bureaucrat Suhas Yathiraj was left with mixed feelings on Sunday after he ended his Paralympic campaign with a silver medal, saying he has never felt so happy and disappointed at the same time in his life.

The 38-year-old Noida District Magistrate produced an entertaining performance before narrowly going down 21-15 17-21 15-21 to two-time world champion Lucas Mazur of France in men’s singles SL4 class summit clash.

“Very emotional (moment). I have never been so happy and so disappointed in my life at the same time. Most happy because of the silver medal but most disappointed because I missed the gold medal by a whisker,” he said after winning the match in a video message posted by the Paralympic Committee of India.

“But destiny gives what I deserve and probably I deserve silver medal so I am happy for that at least.”

Suhas, who has an impairment in one of his ankles, said he hoped for the national anthem to play at the Yoyogi national stadium but it was not to be as the gold medal slipped through his fingers.

“Yes, that is what you pray, that is what you train for, that is what you hope and dream for,” said the world no 3 in SL4 class singles.

“As I said, I have never been so disappointed and most happy in my life, coming so close and yet so far but still winning a Paralympic medal is not a small feat and I am extremely proud for what I have done in last few days.”

A computer engineer, Suhas became an IAS officer in 2007 and was at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as Noida’s DM.

On Sunday, Suhas became the first ever IAS officer to win a medal at the Paralympics.

“For every sportsperson, there is no higher achievement then Olympic or Paralympic, so this means the world to me,” he said.

Born in Hassan, Karnataka, Suhas had to travel a lot since his father was a government servant and had postings at difference places.

“I remember my late father because of whom I stand here and got this medal. There are lot of people, I wish, I remember and thank because of whom I am here and I could deliver on a big occasion, extremely happy and proud moment.”

Suhas has won five golds, four silver and seven bronze medals in international competitions in his career so far.

He has won gold medals at 2017 BWF Turkish Para badminton championship in men’s singles and men’s doubles. He also won gold in 2016 Asia championships, besides a bronze at 2018 Asian Para Games.

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