As Neeraj Chopra clinched the gold medal in the javelin throwing competition at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this month, his former coach Naseem Ahmad also rose to fame for grooming the talent in his early years. And now another student of Naseem has made his coach proud. India’s Nishad Kumar, who won the silver medal in men’s high jump (T-47) at the ongoing Paralympics, was also trained by Naseem. Kumar set an Asian record with a jump of 2.06m.
Nishad has been training under Naseem in Panchkula since 2017. The 21-year-old had lost his hand 14 years ago in a fodder chopping machine. He had won a silver medal in the sub-junior category at the National School Games in Patiala in 2013. However, his training for the para-category started under Naseem in 2017.
Recalling the early days of Kumar, Naseem told The Indan Express: “When he came to train, we were impressed by his height and the way he took advantage of it. He had learnt the basics of the Fosbury Flop technique on TV but we had to work a lot to improve him.”
With strenuous training under Naseem and his staff, Kumar mastered the Fosbury Flop technique and went on to become the champion at the World Para Grand Prix Championship in Dubai in 2019. He also won a bronze medal at the World Para Championships in Dubai.
Besides training, Naseem also provided Kumar with monetary assistance of Rs 40,000 for travelling to Dubai to participate in the games.
For Neeraj, his former coach remembered the time when a 13-year-old chubby Neeraj Chopra came to the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula in 2011.
“He’d sit with his notebook and take tips from them. He would never shy away from training and would always set targets of winning each day’s round with the group,” an emotional Naseem told the English daily after Neeraj’s gold win.
Naseem worked for years with both Neeraj and Kumar to develop their talent and built them into the athletes they are today.