Laurels miss sportsperson by a whisker

Laurels miss sportsperson by a whisker

A(wk)ward

Harry Boniface Prabhu with Daijiworld special recognition award 2011 for differently abled achievers.

Now, it’s the turn of Harry Boniface Prabhu, a Bangalorean, who has not only represented India 58 times, but also competed in all the major grandslam wheelchair tennis championships.

Born a normal child, Prabhu became a quadriplegic when he was just four and is paralysed below hip. The disability, however, didn’t deter him from representing India in the Australian Open, French Open, British Open and US Open. He also became the first Indian in the history of International Paralympic Games to win a medal (bronze) in 1998. He also won the championship in the 2007 Sydney International Wheelchair Open Tennis (both singles and doubles).

Notwithstanding his grit and laurels he brought to the country, Prabhu told Deccan Herald that his name had been dropped from the final list of Arjuna awardees in 2003, 2005 and 2010.

The reason, according to Prabhu is that he does not have a ‘god father’ or ‘influence’ to get what he deserves.

“Why should I run behind the award? The legend Milka Singh was not considered for the award for 30 years,” he says. Besides wheelchair tennis, Prabhu has excelled in athletics, table tennis, carom, badminton and wheelchair cricket.

He won a gold medal in shot-putt, javelin throw, silver in discuss throw (all in 1996 world wheelchair games at Aylesbury, UK).

 Prabhu also started Boniface Prabhu Wheelchair Tennis Academy in 2002 to help fellow disabled.  He was in Mangalore to receive the Swabhiman award, instituted by Daijiworld weekly for differently-abled achievers.

Prabhu would be leaving for France on Friday to take part in a match in Roland Garros.

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