Discus thrower Yogesh Kathuniya clinched a silver medal in the men’s F56 event in the Paralympics here on Monday as athletics remained India’s happy hunting ground at the Games. The 24-year-old, a B.Com graduate from New Delhi’s Kirorimal College, sent the disc to a best distance of 44.38m in his sixth and last attempt to clinch the silver. On Sunday, India had picked up a silver (high jump) and a bronze (discus throw), which is on hold due to a protest.
Son of an Army man, Kathuniya suffered a paralytic attack at the age of eight which left him with coordination impairments in his limbs. Brazil’s defending champion, reigning world champion and world record holder Claudiney Batista dos Santos won the gold with a best throw of 45.59m while Leonardo Diaz Aldana (43.36m) of Cuba took the bronze. In F56 classification, athletes have full arm and trunk muscle power. Pelvic stability is provided by some to full ability to press the knees together. He won a bronze medal in the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai with a best throw of 42.51m which also booked him a Tokyo berth.
It was during his time at the KMC that his potential was noticed by several coaches and he soon came under the tutelage of Satyapal Singh at the Jawaharlal Nehuru Stadium. A few years later, he came under the guidance of coach Naval Singh.
He created a world record in F36 category in his first ever international competition in 2018 at the Para-athletics Grand Prix in Berlin.