Trailblazers 2.0 Conclave to celebrate para-athletes’ journeys

World champions Suhas Yathiraj, Pramod Bhagat, Krishna Nagar, Manasi Joshi, Sumit Antil and Yogesh Kathuniya, the headline presence at Paris 2024 – Comité d’organisation des Jeux Olympiques et Paralympiques de 2024 – will star at the Trailblazers Conclave on March 7 and 8, 2024 in Kolkata. And this offers a perspective.

When you are fighting for newsprint against cricket, you always have the risk of ending up second best. And when it is an intense Test match in Ranchi that could lead to an Indian series win, it is more so.


Thereafter in the evening there is the WPL. No wonder then, that India’s gold medal winners at the Para badminton world championships, Suhas Yathiraj, Pramod Bhagat and Krishna Nagar aren’t really celebrated in today’s sports pages.

Each has won a world championship gold by the way, and in doing so, added to our expectations for the Paris Paralympics. Suhas’s reaction has gone viral on social media and is evidence what the gold means to him and his coach Gaurav Khanna.

Also Read: Indian Para Badminton Team Creates History; Coach Gaurav Khanna Praises the Youngsters

I am delighted to say each one of them, and others like Manasi Joshi, who did well in the world’s, Sumit Antil and Yogesh Kathuniya, headline the list of Paralympic champions attending the Trailblazers Conclave. The idea is to celebrate their journeys and take a step towards equality. While we need to understand how they are all readying themselves for the ultimate Paralympic dream, it is also time to take stock and take a pause. Do we celebrate them enough? Are they still treated as objects of sympathy or are they the athletes who deserve much more? How do we accelerate the change?

For Suhas, an IAS officer of repute, sport is his means to stay in the zone. Face adversity and get ready for the challenges like Covid. For Sumit Antil, who breaks world records at almost every competition he participates in, touching the 75m mark in javelin is now the goal.

Just as we celebrate Neeraj, we will celebrate Sumit. As much as we celebrate Prannoy, we will celebrate Suhas. That’s the idea behind the Trailblazers Conclave presented by Tata Steel.

Let’s make a bold prediction here. India won one medal in London 2012. It became four in Rio 2016 and 19 in Tokyo 2020. I think 40 medals in Paris isn’t a far cry. It could be a watershed moment for Indian sport and mainstream Paralympic sport in a way that we haven’t seen before.

For us at RevSportz, able-bodied and Para sport need to be celebrated side by side. Para sport is Parallel sport and not sport for men and women with disabilities. That’s how we become a more inclusive society and a better country. At Trailblazers 2.0 that’s what we will be doing as we celebrate our champions.

For latest sports news: click here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *