Hyderabadi blade runner eyes Chinese glory
City youth eyes Chinese glory. Positive, self-confident and excited, Challa Pavan Kumar, meticulously makes his way from his house in Raidurgam near Shaikpet to the GMC Balayogi Stadium in Gachibowli every morning and evening.
A Hyderabadi blade runner is all set to create history in less than a week’s time and that too in far off China. Unfortunately, in an age when a sportsperson from other disciplines finds it relatively easy to get a sponsor, Challa Pavan Kumar has borrowed money (after his running from pillar to post went in vain) to pay for his travel costs. At a time when he has to be toast of the town, he is disappointed but determined to come home with international glory.
Positive, self-confident and excited, Challa Pavan Kumar, meticulously makes his way from his house in Raidurgam near Shaikpet to the GMC Balayogi Stadium in Gachibowli every morning and evening.
This has been his schedule for the past one year. Pavan has been training with a single-minded devotion-making the country proud in his chosen category.
Pavan’s dreams are set to be translated soon as he will enter the record books as the first Indian blade runner to compete at the China Open Athletics Championships, which are to be held in Beijing from April 14 to 16. He will compete in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 400 metres categories.
Pavan grew up like any other child. Having studied in Oasis School of Excellence at Shaikpet, his passion for engineering backed by academic excellence saw him getting admission in Noble College at Himayat Sagar.
However, a quirk of fate and an ill-fated hour altered his life once and for all.
Like his daily routine, Pavan after getting down from a bus while returning from college when he came under a speeding truck on the first of August in 2005.
“It was the most traumatic period of my life. Although I survived, my right leg had to be amputated,” said Pavan.
The life of a cheerful third year engineering student was to remain poignantly crestfallen till he ran into a Good Samaritan a couple of years later.
Recalling the day and its aftermath, he says “it sent me into depression. All my dreams were shattered. It was my parents who stood by my side. My father who had worked most part of his life as a sound engineer at Ramanaidu Studios in Filmnagar gave me a choice to join him and work in films as a film editor. He felt it would have been a better choice as it would not take a toll of my body.”
Pavan got a prosthetic Jaipur leg fitted in a few days after the accident and took up the job. During this time, he worked as an assistant editor of ‘Tulsi’ and ‘Victory’ movies until August 2013.
In September, 2013 while surfing through Youtube, Pavan came across a video of the South African amputee blade runner Oscar Pistorius.
The moment marked the turning point in his career. Oscar’s story inspired Pavan so much that he decided to become an athlete. Luck came in the form of Dr Mohana Gandhi, a prominent prosthetic surgeon, and the founder of Dakshin Rehabilitation Centre that trains amputee athletes. On knowing about Pavan’s condition, Dr Gandhi brought a blade for Pavan from the USA.
He trained Pavan ahead of the Airtel Hyderabad Marathon in which Pavan participated as a sprinter. There has been no looking back for Pavan after that. In the last one year, Pavan participated in eight marathons.
“In last August, I was able to run 100 metres in 16 seconds. Now I am able to clock 13 seconds,” says an enthusiastic Pavan.
In March, Pavan heard about the Paralympics Championship to be staged in Beijing this month. He approached the Paralympic Committee of India in Bangalore and showed his videos. Impressed by his talent and determination, one of the directors of the committee exhorted him to participate in the event, following which he qualified for the China Open.
Pavan is now training hard for the paralympics.
“I see the videos of Oscar Pistorius every morning and then head for training to Gachibowli. I follow the instructions given in the video. The world record for a paralympic is 10.75 seconds and for an Asian it’s about 11.8 seconds. My aim at the China Open is to win with an Asian best timing,” says a determined Pavan.
Unfortunately, Pavan neither has a trainer nor a sponsor.
“I have no coach compelling me to practice on my own. I am desperately looking for a sponsor. In fact, for the ensuing event I had to raise loans to manage my travel expenses,” laments Pavan.
One sincerely hopes that not only would he return with bountiful of accolades but also land up with a sponsor or perhaps assistance from the government.