While it's been over a week since Para-athlete Vinod Kumar lost his discus throw (F52) bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, it hasn't been an easy reality to make sense of for Vinod's family. In fact, his daughter is convinced that her father is a Paralympic medallist. 7-year-old Sakshi had watched her father finish third on the live telecast of the games but is not aware of what all unfolded post it.
The revelation was made by Vinod and his wife Anita in a recent interview.
"She (Sakshi) still thinks her father got home a medal from Tokyo," Anita, Vinod's wife, said as quoted in an Indian Express report.
We were celebrating win, had distributed sweets: Anita
The report claims that there is an air of grief at the rented accommodation of Vinod Kumar in Rohtak after the family went through a topsy-turvy emotional ride in the past few weeks. While they were understandably happy with the 41-year-old earning a bronze medal in the F52 classification of the men’s discus event in Tokyo, the eventual result was put on hold for a classification review. However, the assessment that was made the following morning saw Vinod ineligible for the F52 category which implied he would lose his medal.
"We had already distributed sweets to our neighbours and were celebrating his win," Anita recalls as part of the same interview.
"We thought our life would change after the medal but later that night my husband called me to and said the results were put on hold," she added.
I am still shattered: Vinod Kumar
Vinod had called home when their residence was already filled with friends and relatives all celebrating Vinod's medal. But while the festivities were muted after what Anita had heard on the call, they were also hopeful of bagging the prize.
Much to their horror, a crying Vinod called Anita to inform her that he would not be bringing home the medal.
"No matter how tough you are at the end of the day, you are human. I am still shattered," says Vinod.
Vinod, who fell off a cliff, while training with the Border Security Force in 2002 and remained bedridden for a decade after a major surgery, had thought that the medal would change his life for good but is now focusing on Paris 2024 despite the financial challenges he is facing.
"I don’t want to sit and think all day about the medal that slipped from my hands, but I want to train for Paris. I desperately need some support or else I would be forced to quit sports. Right now, it’s a struggle to even take care of my family’s expenses. How will I be able to compete when I have no source of income?" he said.