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22 May 2019, Edition - 1408, Wednesday

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Coimbatore

Coimbatore leads the state in differently-abled athletes scripting new success stories

Sunandha Vijayakumar

Para Olympic athlete Mariappan Thangavelu gold medal-winning jump in 2016 Para Olympics in Rio sparked off intense interest in sports among the differently-abled sportspersons across India.

Coimbatore is no different. Here in the city, 38-year-old D. Mohan Kumar is also doing his bit in inspiring the youth into taking active participation in sports. Partially paralyzed after a polio attack during his childhood, Mohan Kumar did not give up.

He kept on at it and is a national level Para athlete and is a volleyball player. Popularly called Para Sitting Volleyball, the sport is catching on in Tamil Nadu Para Athletic community.

Mohan was part of our Indian team that bagged the gold in International Para Sitting Volleyball Competition held in Thailand, last year.

Mohan is with Tamil Nadu team and won the Championship trophy (named as AMMA trophy) playing against the Rajasthan in the 2nd National Level Sitting Volleyball Championship last December, conducted by Tamil Nadu Para Sitting Volleyball Association.

Mohan told The Covai Post, “I couldn’t get a government job since I have crossed the age limit to apply. I discovered this sport at a later stage of my life and I am confident that I will achieve more in the future.” He and his wife run an ‘Aavin’ milk shop in Thudiyalur.

Mohan is coached by Albert Premkumar, retired Physical Director and one of the founders of Tamil Nadu Para Sitting Volleyball Trust that was formed recently in Coimbatore. He stated “the regulations pertaining to Para Sitting Volleyball game are not properly stipulated by our Indian Sports Association, yet.

We are trying hard to persuade them to focus more on these kinds of sports, where we have ample opportunities to secure a spot in the Asian Paralympics scene. The Tamil Nadu Para Sitting Volleyball team has reached the number 1 position due to the combined efforts of our trust and the TN Government.”

He added “We have created 18 district teams in Tamil Nadu in the past five years. The trust has many esteemed sports personalities and it is collectively funded by good-hearted individuals across the world. We are hoping to compete with many international teams this year.

Our trust is looking forward to coach, guide and fully sponsor women players as well, but there is little awareness about this sport. We are requesting interested differently able women athletes to contact us”

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