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A bright ray of hope

Suraj Panwar did the country proud by winning a silver medal in the Youth Olympics, the first Indian to do so.

Raju Gusain | Dehradun |

Suraj Panwar created history by winning a silver medal in the recently concluded Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. This young athlete from Uttarakhand has made his mark in world sports braving all odds, including losing his father at an early age and belonging to a lower middle-class family. Panwar won the silver in the 5 km walk and got his name inscribed in the hall of fame as he became the first ever Indian to win a medal in the Youth Olympics.

As a resident of Karbari, located in the outskirts of Dehradun, and struggling to cope with the loss of his father Uday Singh Panwar, the young boy grew up facing hardship. Suraj was six months old when the sand mafia killed his father who was working for the forest department.

In 2014 Suraj made an attempt to get admitted to the Sports College (Pithoragarh). He was rejected but his talent was spotted by a staffer of the state education department in 2016. Ravi Rawat, district sports coordinator of the education department, requested the Dehradun-based Maharana Pratap Sports College to provide coaching support to the budding athlete. Ravi met athlete coach Anoop Bisht at the sports college and the meeting changed the fortunes of Suraj Panwar.

The 14th National Youth Athletic Championship (2017) at Hyderabad witnessed Suraj clocking a timing of 45:35.47 in 10,000m walk to win his first national medal, a silver medal.

Athletic coach Anoop Bisht said, “Suraj won his first national medal last year and now he has brought laurels for the hill state by winning the Youth Olympic silver. An outstanding performance! The youth deserves praise as he had to face many difficult situations to reach this point.”

In the initial period, Suraj had to take a room on rent near Maharana Pratap Sports College in Dehradun to continue his training. Many generous people provided him support. After winning the first national medal, Panwar was inducted in the Maharana Pratap Sports College under the excellency scheme. The state government operated Sports College is overjoyed with the achievement of their student at the Youth Olympics.