Yogesh Kathuniya won silver in the men’s discus throw F56 event (seated) at the Tokyo Paralympics, adding a fifth medal to India’s tally. The 24 year old threw a best distance of 44.38m in his sixth and last attempt to finish second without been trained by an coach for over an year. Due to covid-19 many institutes were closed due to lockdown and his efforts were not up to the mark.
“That was amazing. Winning the silver has given me so much more motivation to get the Gold medal at Paris 2024, he said in the mixed zone.” Kathuniya said preparing for the Games was hard for him as lockdowns ensure that facilities were closed for a major part of the last two years. “In the last 18 months the preparations have been very tough. In India there was a six month lockdown so every stadaium was closed,” he said.
Yogesh was born on 3 March 1997 to housewife Meena Devi and her husband Gyanchand Kathuniya – a soldier with the Indian Army. At the age of 9 years Yogesh suffered Guillain-Barre syndrome. He studied at Indian Army Public School in Chandigarh where his father served in army at Chandimandir Cantonment. His mother learnt physiotherapy, and within 3 years, at the age of 12 he regained muscle strength to walk again. He later studied Bachelor of Commerce degree from Kirori Mal College in Delhi where he joined para games.
In 2017, Yogesh started in para sports after Sachin Yadav, general secretary of the students’ union at Kirori Mal College, motivated him to take up sports by regularly showing him videos of para athletes. In 2018, he set a world record in F36 category by throwing the disc to 45.18 m at 2018 World Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin. In 2021 August, Kathuniya represented India in the men’s discus throw F56 event at 2020 Summer Paralympics and won a silver medal.