Family’s sacrifices help Singhraj mount Tokyo Paralympics podium

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In his debut Paralympic Games, bronze medallist Singhraj Adana took up shooting just four years ago.
In his debut Paralympic Games, bronze medallist Singhraj Adana took up shooting just four years ago.

Singhraj Adana amassed a score of 216.8 to secure bronze in P1 Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 Final at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Chao Yang, and Xing Huang, both from China, took home gold and silver respectively.

Singhraj’s bronze became India’s second medal in shooting after Avani Lekhara’s gold in Women’s 10m Air Rifle SH 1. He, who qualified for the eight-man final as the 6th-best shooter, made a strong start to the qualification round as he accumulated 95 and 97 in the
first couple of series.

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His third series ended with a 93 which was a concern. However, he soon made a comeback with a 95. Singharaj had a 92 and brilliant 97 in the last 2 series which were enough to book a place in the final.

In the event finals, Singhraj kept hovering around the medal spot. At the end of his first 10 shots, he had amassed 99.6 points and was in the top 3. The pressure was on him after India’s other shooter Manish Narwal kept shooting in the 9 range and finished 7th in the finals.

“When Manish Narwal was eliminated I was sad but realised that I needed to continue my fight,” said Singhraj.

His poor 19th shot ensured that he dropped out of medal contention, but shot a 9.6 in his 20th attempt. In his final 2 attempts Singhraj notched a couple of 10.0s and moved to third.

Hailing from Bahadurgarh in Haryana, Singhraj’s grandfather was a part of the freedom movement and had served in the British Indian Army at the time of World War II.

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“I had polio in both my legs and needed crutches to walk. But my mother, who has always supported me along with others in the family, would motivate me to stand on my legs.”

The 39-year-old started playing the sport only four years back, and Tokyo is his debut Paralympic Games. Singharaj came into the Games on the back of gold at the Para Sport World Cup in Al Ain, UAE. There, he had beaten 2016 Rio Paralympics bronze medallist Server Ibragimov by 2.8 points.

The pandemic came in the way of preparation and Singhraj got frustrated due to lack of training. That was when his coaches suggested to build a shooting range at home. However, for someone who once watched his wife sell her jewellery to support his dream, he knew the move was a gamble.

“My mother only asked me to ensure that we are able to feed ourselves if something went wrong. But thanks to my family and coaches’ support and help from the Paralympic Committee of India and National Rifle Association of India, we succeeded in my mission and the range was soon up and running,” he said.

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