Girisha turns parent's regret into pride

Hosanagara lad bags silver in the mens high jump F42 event for Indias first medal

Girisha turns parent's regret into pride

The joy of Nagarajegowda and Jayamma knew no bounds when they received a call on their mobile phone from London Monday midnight. It was from their son Girisha to tell them that he had won the silver medal for the country in the high jump event of the Paralympics.

The couple from Hosanagar in Konanur hobli of Arkalgud taluk (Hassan district) had regretted when he was born with a disability in the left leg. But his feat, which has taken the country’s prestige to great heights, has turned the parents’ regret into pride. 
 
Girisha had promised to return with a gold when he took the flight to London. But the silver medal is no mean achievement. It has enhanced the glory of the country’s sporting fraternity, coming as it does just a month after India’s best-ever haul in the Olympics of six medals (one silver, five bronze).  

He was confident of bettering his previous record of 1.8 metres. The gold medalist in the last edition of Paralympics had cleared 1.82 metres and Girisha had said that he was not far away from being the best in the London edition of the event.

Many in Girisha’s humble village are not aware of his achievement. But the few who came to know about it are all praise for him. They say in the absence of professional training, it was will power alone that made him scale great heights.

Humble beginnings

The specially-abled athlete had made his interest in sports known when he was a child.

Nagarajegowda and Jayamma recall how he would tie a rope to the pillars in the house and jump over it, competing with his brother.

He would gradually increase its height and surpass it each time. Girisha had his early education at the government primary school in the village and went on to do his SSLC at the government high school at Bannur Santhemala.

He had his pre-university education at the junior college at Shirangala in Kodagu district.

Girisha did his BA at the ANV First Grade College, Gorur. He has also trained in computers.

Early success

His first taste of success was when he won a prize at the State-level sports meet in Dharwad when he was in first BA, competing with ‘normal’ sportsmen.

He then won a high jump bronze medal in the Mysore University sports meet. There was no looking back after he won gold in the national high jump championship.

A bronze at the junior sports meet for the disabled in Ireland in 2006 was his first moment of glory in the international arena.

That was followed by a gold at athletics meets in Kuwait and Malaysia. Girisha had lost in the final stage of the selection trials for the Beijing Paralympics. But he has now more than made up for it.

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