Ankit gives Bengal a lift in Para-Games, but plans to leave the state due to lack of infrastructure

In the recently-concluded inaugural Khelo India Para-Games Bengal earned the only medal through Ankit Pradhan.

Ankit Pradhan is the latest unsung hero in sports in Bengal. In the recently-concluded inaugural Khelo India Para-Games Bengal earned the only medal through Ankit Pradhan. 

The 25-year-old Para-badminton player from Darjeeling acquired a silver medal in the WH-1 category, losing to India’s second-ranked Para-badminton player Shashank Kumar. 

Ankit’s journey comprises sobs and sombre and the zeal to fight back against the severe odds. He suffered a severe road accident in 2015 in Siliguri. While riding on a motorbike he was badly hit by a truck and flew and fell under another truck that was coming from opposite side. The severe accident broke his spinal cord. 

The injury aggravated following ill-treatment at Siliguri Hospital and developed three big and agonizing bedsores on the back. Ankit had to move to Bangalore and undergo flap surgery (cutting skin from his leg and covering the bedsores) in 2016. 



Ankit then started his rehabilitation in South Delhi in 2017 but the capability to stand on his feet did not revive. Ankit’s second innings of life resumed with a wheel wheelchair.

Ankit used to play volleyball initially. But following advice from his doctor he switched over to badminton. In his opening Para-badminton national championship in 2021, Ankit reached the quarterfinals after practicing for only a couple of weeks. 

Unfortunately, Ankit has not yet been promised any financial support or cash incentive for his silver medal in the National Games. His father has a small vegetable shop. His mother sometimes works at a local NGO. 

He lamented, “None from Bengal or national federation has made any kind of promise yet. However, I need financial assistance to take my game to the international level. The major difficulty we face is the lack of infrastructural support. There is no support for the players of our category in Bengal. We need facilities.” 



Considering the support from the state or association, the shuttler has only received his wheelchair from the MLA of Darjeeling Neeraj Zimba and according to Ankit, “Zimba also promised me before that I would be given a monthly stipend of Rs 5000 which has not yet started.”

That is why in a bid to strengthen his game Ankit has decided to leave Bengal. Amidst the financial distress, the shuttler seemed relieved when he revealed that his mentor Prem Ale, India's number one Para-badminton player in the WH-1 category had promised him to get admitted to the Gaurab Khanna Centre of Excellence in Lucknow, an exclusive training center for the Para-badminton players. 

Ankit has practiced at Darjeeling Gymkhana for the last two years under the guidance of local coach Swarup Chettri. But the more unfortunate part is that due to the up-and-down road, Ankit cannot move alone and he even sometimes does not get a person who will take his wheelchair to the practice center. 

Ankit also, like all other players, dreams of winning medals in international competitions, especially from the events like Asian Games and the Olympics. 



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