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Soman Rana: Gorkha braveheart to represent India at Tokyo Paralympics

The drumbeats should be louder as the Tokyo Paralympics is nearing. The Paralympics will start from August 24 till September 5 2021. 

Indian Army’s Havildar Soman Rana will represent India in the shot put, F 57 category. Soman Rana lost his right leg in a mine blast in a field area in 2006. 

Sportsmanship in a solider

Army’s Para Node set-up at Bombay Engineering Group in Pune has been Rana’s training centre since 2017. He has been actively involved in sports ever since he joined the army. Sports has been a major part of Rana’s life. Previously, he has played for his 2/8 Gorkha Rifles regiment in boxing competitions in the past.

Lost his leg in J&K Mission

2/8 Gorkha Rifles Hav Rana lost his right leg during the security operation in Jammu and Kashmir. After losing his leg, Rana had to take a break from sports and resume general duty at the unit’s level. But it is rightly said that destiny favours people with determination and hard work.

Taking a few interviews and reading the life stories of our para-athletes, I found one thing common in all these stories, that all had one person who changed their perspective and broadened their horizon. This fact reminded me of the King of Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist of how you would find people who will help you meet your destiny if you are devoted enough for it. 

Well, in Hav Rana’s story, Colonel Gaurav Dutta, the then in charge of the node, changed his perspective.

“I met him at the Artificial Limb Centre (ALC) in Pune. He had told me then that I could still pursue a career in sports. He had asked me to throw shot put and I did. Based on that trial, he selected me for the sports,” Rana said, according to a TOI report.

Colonel Dutta is praiseworthy of Rana’s brilliancy in the field of sports. He said Havildar Rana has been performing exceptionally in various sports events, including shot put. Rana is an international para-athlete and stands second in world rankings in his category, said the army, according to a TOI report.

A transformational journey like Rana’s needs strenuous work on oneself and consistency. Lockdown due to the ongoing pandemic has been a challenge in itself for athletes. Undoubtedly, the Tokyo Games is a dream for all the athletes and they have been undergoing training and practice. 

On his training during the Covid-19 pandemic, Rana said, “It was a very tough time for me. But I continued my physical as well as mental training at home and whenever possible at the node. I did spend hours on shot put throw on the ground too.” 

Likewise, Rana has continued his training amid all the lockdown, restrictions. Not just that, he had won a gold medal in Tunis World Para Athletics Grand Prix and two gold medals and one silver in XIX National Athletics Para Championship. He had cleared for the paralympic qualifying trials held in Delhi in June.

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