August 11, 2016
Coimbatore’s Sugil Abbas is back in India, silent and unnoticed, after winning a medal for the country at an international para sports event.
The physically challenged 25-year-old won a bronze in a doubles match at the Para Badminton Championship held in Indonesia.
It was a double achievement for Abbas, who told The Covai Post, “I was proud to represent my country and then was elated to win a medal.”
Abbas, who trained at Lifespring Badminton Academy on Avinashi Road, took on players from six countries before reaching the semi-finals, when he along with his Japanese partner Gen won bronze medals after losing to an Indonesian pair.
“Players from Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Poland, The Netherlands, Korea and Singapore participated, and besides winning, it was a rich experience,” said Abbas, who had only his right hand to play.
The matches were tough and everyone pushed himself beyond his limit to win, said the champion who was trained by the academy’s chief coach, Shubhu.
“I was amazed by the players’ hard work, dedication and sense of commitment.”
Badminton to them is like cricket to our country, said Abbas.
Everyone knows to play badminton in those countries and it’s sort of a street game, present everywhere, he observes.
I owe my success to many people, said Abbas who is from Erode and lives in Coimbatore to train in the game.
“First of all, my family that’s supporting me, while I chose to take badminton as a full-time profession,” said the champion, who started training professionally for the past six years when he joined college.
“I’m grateful to the academy, which is for able-bodied players, but accepted and supported me, and Shubhu sir, who trained and helped me meet all sorts of challenges,” he said.
Abbas, who trained along with the other able-bodied players on the courts of the academy, said he was passionate about the game and now it was a dream come true.
Funds worth Rs1,25,000 was raised by his friends from Kumaraguru College and NGO The Vidiyal Team “to make my trip to Indonesia possible.”
“My coach couldn’t accompany me due to money constraints, but I think it’s a huge advantage if the coach is with you, as he is a source of moral support and he is the only one who can prepare you for the next match by sharing his observations about the opponent players.”
The other players were accompanied by their physiotherapists, fitness trainers and coaches, he said.
He didn’t have the time and money to explore Indonesia, but is back having made new friendships and acquired colossal inspiration.
Abbas, who played from August 3 to 7, said, “Winning a medal was unbelievable, and now I wish to work harder and represent India in more championships.”
Perhaps it’s time for the government to give up its ‘help yourselves’ attitude and make a sizeable investment that’s fairly distributed among its sports talents.