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Narayan Thakur: 100m Gold Winner in Asian Para Games Once Lived in Orphanage, Cleaned DTC Buses


New Delhi: Narayan Thakur — who was born with a disability, lived in an orphanage for eight years, worked at dhabas, cleaned DTC buses — has achieved the near-impossible by becoming the only Indian to have won the athletics 100m Gold in the just concluded Asian Para Games in Jakarta.

A report in The Time of India said that Thakur suffers from left-sided hemiparesis, a condition in which a patient suffers paralysis of the left side of the body after a stroke of the brain.

The story of the 27-year-old para athlete, who even lived for a while in a jhuggi in northwest Delhi’s Samaypur Badli, is one of indomitable spirit overcoming all odds.

Thakur, who hails from Bihar, says the family moved to Delhi as his father was suffering from a heart condition. After his father’s death, his mother was finding it difficult to take care of her three kids and it was then that Thakur was sent to an orphanage in Daryaganj. The young sprinter claims he got food to eat and a chance to study there.
“I wanted to play cricket, but somehow it did not happen. I left the orphanage so that I could look for other alternatives in sports,” Thakur told The Times of India.

Thakur says when he left the orphanage in 2010, his family suffered another cruel blow.

“That was the time when the jhuggis we in Samaypur Badli, where we lived then, were demolished. We had no option but to move to a nearby area. We had serious financial problems and to make ends meet I had to clean DTC buses and also double up as waiter at small roadside thelas (stalls). But I still had the spirit to pursue sports,” Thakur told The Times of India.

Thakur said the transition to athletics happened when someone advised him to try his hand at the sport at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.

Once there, Thakur said he worked hard on his game and impressed all with his performance. This paved the way for his participation in the Jakarta Games.

“I am happy to have won the gold for India in Jakarta. I am the only Indian to have won the athletics 100m gold in an Asiad or Asian Para Games,” Thakur was quoted as saying by the paper.

Thakur was felicitated by the PM for his outstanding feat and given a cheque of Rs 40 lakh. He said he hopes to get some financial reward from the Delhi government as well.

Thakur, who doesn’t have a job and helps his mother run a paan shop, is now optimistic that his life will change for good.

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta

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