Veteran Paralympian Naresh Sharma gets ready for the biggest challenge of life, will life support arrive?
It’s a distress signal from someone who is paralysed from the waist below. A veteran of several Paralympic Games and winner of some of the most prestigious medals and sporting awards, including the Arjuna Award, Naresh Sharma will have to shoot for nearly eight hours in the steaming conditions of the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Ranges only to prove that he is good enough to represent the country at the upcoming World Shooting Para Sport Championship to be held in Cheongju, Korea.
Naresh will undergo trials in four events on Thursday, shooting approximately 550 times (including sighters) in eight hours, a feat never before attempted by any shooter in the world.
The 44-year-old is a bit concerned about how his body will take the stress. In an email to the Paralympic Committee of India, a copy of which has been marked to sports minister Rajyavardhan Rathore and Director General, Sports Authority of India, Naresh has requested for an ambulance to be stationed at the Karni Singh Range during the trials in case something goes wrong.
The letter stated that, “This will be the first time in the history of shooting sport that an athlete has been forced to compete in four events on a single day. Even according to ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) and IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Rules and Regulations, it is not possible to conduct four events in a single day.
“If you see the time given to me to change over and to shift myself from the 50m to 10m is only half an hour, it shows the limit to which the concerned people can go to disturb me so that I underperform.”
“In this regard, Sir, I humbly request to arrange an ambulance so that if any physical or mental injury happens to me, my life can be safe (I can be safely transported to a hospital). I hope my request will be considered and appropriate action taken.”
The Delhi High Court had directed the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) to conduct selection trials for Naresh, who has questioned the selection policy and the entire process of selection by the PCI.
The court’s direction came while hearing a petition filed by Naresh after he was not included in the 15-member squad named by the PCI for the ongoing World Shooting Para Sport World Cup in Al Ain, UAE which is a qualifying competition for the World Shooting Para Sport Championship.
Naresh has walked on crutches all his life but that hasn’t stopped him from making a mark for himself in shooting. He has featured in every Paralympics since 1996, missing out only in Athens 2004.
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