MUMBAI: Pranav Desai, 21, made the country proud when he won the 200m gold and the 100m silver in the 12th Fazza Championships World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai.
The Thane resident, who has 73% disability, is the first from his handicap classification to win medals in sprint. He is disabled below the knee in one leg and does not have a complete set of fingers on the hands. He clocked 24.96 seconds in the 200m and 11.76 seconds in the 100m, which is also his personal best in both the events.
The para-athlete trains under Nilesh Patkar at Thane’s Dadoji Konddeo Stadium and this performance was delivered despite no training during the lockdown period.
“From March to September last year Pranav couldn’t train under me. What he has achieved is from the training we managed after September,” said Patkar.
Patkar and Pranav’s father Prashant were known to each other and the latter wanted his son to pick up a sport.
“When Pranav came to me, I did not know what he was capable of doing. But he did well in events for normal people, reaching the finals of both the sprints,” said Patkar. Prashant and Patkar then raised money through crowdfunding to send Pranav to the same meet in Dubai to get a classification (T-64).
The championships in which he won the medals were only among the first few for him. The only other significant meet was the Para-Asiad that he attended two years ago.
Patkar is hoping that he can achieve the qualification for the Paralympics. Fingers are crossed till he achieves that target.