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Suhas L Yathiraj, a disabled IAS officer, DM of Noida, para shuttler selected for the Tokyo Paralympics

It is rightly said, not all superheroes wear a cape, and the superhero I am talking about is an inspiration to many in numerous ways. 

Suhas L Yathiraj, who was recently inducted to the India Para- badminton squad in the maiden para-badminton event at Tokyo Paralympics next month. Para shuttler Suhas and L Yathiraj along with Manoj Sarkar have been granted bipartisan quotas. This comes as big news as it increases the chances of India to secure a medal at men’s singles. 

Securing a ticket to the Tokyo Paralympics is the latest feather in Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj’s cap which is already decorated with many outstanding achievements. Suhas L Yathiraj, an IAS officer of the 2007 batch of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, is presently serving as District Magistrate of Noida. He has previously served as the district magistrate of Allahabad, Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Sonbhadra, Hathras, Maharajganj and other regions. Along with that, he was also been conferred the highest civilian honour of Uttar Pradesh — the Yash Bharti in 2016. Suhas has played a crucial role in developing a mobile application to help differently-abled voters during elections. Furthermore, he has also been a part of the development of mobile applications for the public welfare such as “Kuposhan ka Darpan” and “Pregnancy ka Darpan”  to help undernourished children and pregnant women, respectively.

Yathiraj is a prodigy as he is a self-taught badminton player who has made the country proud at several tournaments over the years. He bagged a gold medal in men’s singles at the 2016 Asia Championship held in Beijing, China.  He secured a gold medal in men’s singles and doubles at the Badminton World Federation Turkish Open Para-Badminton Championships held in Turkey in 2017. Suhas has been a part of the men’s para-badminton team and has won bronze in the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. The aforementioned are a few achievements of the extremely versatile Suhas. 

Suhas’s one-legged congenital deformity has never been an obstruction for him in any way. Just as his disability was never a hindrance in achieving what he set his eyes upon, he  is a living example of the saying that “there is nothing more powerful in the world than the human spirit and the human will.”

In an interview with the Times of India in 2016, Suhas said, “I never saw myself with the disability, and I owe this mindset to my parents. I was not given any special treatment since the beginning. My parents made me play with schoolmates and allowed me to participate in inter-school races which many parents of special children don’t. Stigma begins at home, but the strength to lead a normal life also begins at home.”

Suhas has held a perfect tuning between his work life and his passion for badminton. But in times of pandemic, the pressure was more. The pressing times have added more pressure and bustling work hours on the shoulders of the officer in wake of proper administration of Covid guidelines. However, Suhas seems to be a believer of “ practice makes a man perfect” and hence makes sure to take out time for his badminton practice. 

 “Being the DM of Noida, it was a very challenging time during the Pandemic. But I never gave up on my training and devoted all my focus and time to it. I am very much confident to clinch a medal at Tokyo 2020,” said Yathiraj, a bronze medallist at the 2018 Asian Para Games, according to reports.

The DM Noida is now eyeing a medal with its squad at the Tokyo Paralympics and we couldn’t wait to watch how the events at the biggest sports festival unfurl. 

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