Suresh’s path to world title is a thorny one

Suresh’s path to world title is a thorny one

KUALA LUMPUR: The national recurve para-archer, S. Suresh’s journey to win the World Archery Para Championships title in Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, was not a fairy tale run, but a thorny route.

The 25-year-old from Kuala Ketil, Kedah lost half of his left leg in a lorry crash together with his father, Selvathamby at the tender age of 13, forcing him to depend on a prosthetic leg.

Not long after that, he lost his younger sister, Karthiyani in 2010, who died on the spot after being hit by a motorbike when getting into a school bus.

This forced his single mother, Dewani Chandran, who worked in a factory to independently raise Suresh and younger brother Kalidasan.

“People used to tell my mother that I am worthless as I was involved in archery. They said I won’t look after my family and mum, but my mum is the one who had to look after me.

“But now I have proved them wrong by winning the world crown. I have achieved this for my country and when I get the rewards, I am thinking of buying a house for my family as we are still living in a rented house,” he told Bernama, when contacted in the Netherlands.

Suresh becomes the first Malaysian to win the world title after defeating United States’ Eric Benett, 7-3 in the men’s individual final yesterday, while the previous best outing was a bronze medal through late Salam Sidek in 2011 edition at Turin, Italy.

The top two finish also helped Suresh to secure his berth to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Suresh started his journey in sports in 2012, when former national para-archer, T. Suresh visited him at home to encourage him to take the sport as coach M. Puvaneswaran, who was also the 2015 Singapore ASEAN Para Games (APG) para-archery team manager, was looking for new archers.

“I was studying at Institut Kemahiran Langkasuka, Gurun at that time, so the training was inconsistent, but managed to win a silver medal at the 2012 Para Sukma. After that I still couldn’t fully focus on training because of the necessity to work due to my family condition.

“In 2013, the National Sports Council selected me into the national team, but I faced a lot of challenges to get used to the training routine and environment, but I still did not give up because of the desire to achieve something was burning inside me.

“I represented the country in 2014 Myanmar and 2017 Kuala Lumpur APG, but had a bad outing. So the officials asked me to return to the state team and train in a more relaxed environment there,” he explained.

Upon his return to the state team, his desire for a success increased, as Suresh again made his way back into the national team to be ranked number one in the country, and eventually at the top of the world.

Suresh said the target given to him was to secure the top two position at the world meet to qualify for Tokyo, but he wanted to win the gold. However, he didn’t expect to become viral overnight.

“I did not know that I will become so viral in Malaysia for winning this world championships. As far as I know, I thought my boss will come, some reporters will interview and then I can go back home…I did not expect people will know me and everyone sharing the news in social media,” he said.

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