Gwalior’s canoeist, Prachi Yadav, has qualified in kayaking and canoeing for Tokyo #Paralympic and she will be the only entry from #India in this category at the mega event.
#PrachiYadav was a champion para-#swimmer for India, but switched to paracanoe at the behest of her coach, who realised she had a better chance of getting to Paralympics.
Prachi has long arms, and the coach thought this would serve her well as a paddler.
Prachi said, “I have no words to express my happiness at this moment. I had never thought of qualifying for the Olympics. My family is on cloud 9 after learning about my qualification.”
Prachi has a #disability below her waist.
MP in #Tokyo: No hurdle big enough to stop Prachi
For a game like kayaking and canoeing, legs play an important role. As I can’t use legs, I have to use the upper part of the body to move the boat. It becomes even more difficult when you are competing at the international level. However, with the help of coach Mayank Thakur and executive member of IOA BS Kushwaha, I could manage to reach this level in my career,” said Prachi.
Hailing from a #middleclass family, Prachi had lost her mother to cancer in 2003.
“I have two siblings among whom I am the second. My father, Jagdish Yadav, is a retired government employee. It was not easy to take up canoeing as our financial condition was a big challenge,” said Prachi.
Even for participating in the World #Championship from which she has secured the qualification, she had to run from pillar to post. “Coaches and other people helped me financially and sent me for the qualification event. I can’t repay the support they have given to me,” said Prachi.
Her coach Mayank Thakur who is also chairperson, Para India #Kayaking and Canoeing Association, had built a special boat for her practice. “She did not have a boat. As she was a promising player me and my team made a special boat for her. Our efforts paid dividends in the form of her Paralympic qualification. She has the potential to win medals for the country,” told Thakur.
As there were no para players, Prachi had to practice with the other players. “She is an amazing #talent. She always practised with the normal category players. I think this has also helped her develop better endurance and strength,” said Thakur.
#Executive member, IOA, BS Kushwaha said, “This is exemplary. She has made all of us proud. Such athletes will motivate others in the future. We have a full-fledged para water sports centre in Bhind where such players are developing.”


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