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Saturday, September 25, 2021

After battling Covid in ICU, Adhana wins bronze

Singhraj Adana, who took to the sport just four years ago, on Tuesday won the Paralympics bronze medal in the P1 men's 10m air pistol SH1 event.

Written by Nitin Sharma |
Updated: September 1, 2021 9:45:31 am
Singhraj AdhanaSinghraj Adhana claims bronze in men's air pistol (Source: PCI)

In the last week of May, 39-year-old Singhraj Adhana contracted Covid-19 virus and saw his oxygen dropping below 50. The para shooter, who suffers from diabetes, was left searching for a hospital bed in Faridabad and got admitted to an ICU of a private hospital only after a local MLA intervened.

Singhraj spent more than a week in the Covid-19 ICU and would look at pictures of his grandfather late Subedar Major Sumera Ram Adhana, a World War 2 veteran of the British Indian Army and winner of Indian Distinguished Service Medal and Military Cross, to motivate himself. On Monday, as Singhraj won the bronze medal in the men’s 10m air pistol event in the SH-1 category, the Haryana shooter recalled the tough times prior to the Paralympics.

“I have diabetes since eight years. When I contracted the virus in May, it was the most difficult time of my life. My oxygen level dropped to 45 and after many desperate attempts to find an ICU bed, local MLA Rajesh Dagar helped. During the ordeal, I kept looking at the picture of my grandfather kept in my wallet to motivate me and a beginning,” shared Singhraj while talking with The Indian Express from Tokyo.

Singhraj, who had contracted the polio virus at the age of one, would walk with the help of crutches till 15 years. While his grandfather, who was awarded more than 100 acres of land near their village Uchagaon near Ballabhgarh, was confined to bed his last years before his death in 1992, a young Singhraj would spend his time mostly with his grandfather.

With the family also owning two schools in the village, Singhraj would manage the running of one of the schools apart from fighting the local ward elections, which he eventually lost in 2016 post demonetization. Accompanying his nephew Gaurav Adhana to the 40 km away Faridabad Shooting Range piqued his interest in shooting at age 35. “Initially I thought about swimming but I could not stand firmly even in two feet of water,” shares Singhraj.

While he would initially start shooting on his own with a rented pistol and would compete in the Haryana Para Shooting Championships shooting scores around 530-535 in 10m air pistol, it was only after a meeting with 19-time international medalist and Asian Championship silver medallist Om Prakash Choudhary that his performance improved.

Last year after the pandemic hit, Chaudhary suggested Singhraj take a break from training in Delhi to avoid the chance of contracting the virus and it also meant that the shooter got a 50 m range built at the family-owned school apart from making a 10m range in the basement of his house. With the lockdown meaning that the family expenses were spent on the running of schools, Singhraj’s wife Kavita pawned her jewellery to a village banker for a loan. “It cost us about 40 lakhs to get both the ranges built and his wife Kavita also had to part with her jewellery to a lender which we will recover now,” shares younger brother Udham Adhana.

Covid also meant that Singhraj’s blood sugar level would hover around 200 due to the Covid complications in the last two months.
He included laddos made of traditional flours and cut down his milk intake.

On Tuesday, Singhraj shot 569 in qualification to be placed sixth in the eight-man final. He would shoot 9.6 while trailing Chinese Xiaolong Lou by 0.7 points. The 8.6 by the Chinese on the 20th shot ensured bronze for the Indian. “In qualification, my body moved to the left and it showed in the first four-five shots. I meditated between the break and coach Subash Rana told me to shoot without fear. In the final, when those shots for the third and fourth spot elimination came, I thought I cannot leave at this time after all these years of hard work and that’s what motivated me,” shares Singhraj.

The Adhana family knows Singhraj will place his medal along with his grandfather’s gallantry medals as tribute. “He can now share his motivating stories too with school children,” shares father Prem Singh Adhana.

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