Tokyo Olympics: Almost joined father as daily wager, Pravin Jadhav now aims for Olympic glory | Tokyo Olympics News
NEW DELHI: For most of his life, archer Pravin Jadhav lived in a shack near a drain in the drought-prone village of Sarade, in MaharashtraSatara district.
Jadhav spent his childhood and most of his adolescence living a life full of difficulties. Ten years ago, I didn’t even know what, why and how archery it was an olympic sport.
His father, Ramesh, was a salaried laborer on a construction site and his mother used to be a farm handler. There was a constant struggle to provide the family with two full meals a day.
“Our condition was really bad then. We lived in a cabin. We had no electricity and there was hardly any money,” recalls the 25-year-old, who will represent India at the Tokyo Olympics. Jadhav will team up with Atanu Das and Tarundeep Rai in the men’s recurve team and also compete on an individual basis.
There came a time in his life when he was about to join his father as a laborer. Struggling to make ends meet, Pravin’s father had told him that he had to drop out after Class 7 and join him at the construction site.
“Like most people in Sarade, I almost joined my father as a day laborer,” says the keeper.
But then fate had something different written for him. Pravin used to study at the Zilla Parishad School in Sarade. Your sports teacher Vikas bhujbal he knew about his family’s financial situation and urged Pravin to take up athletics so that he could earn some money.
“Mr. Bhujbal told me to start running and participate in competitions. ‘At least you would earn money and you wouldn’t have to go to the construction site,’ he told me. So I started running 400 and 800 meters,” he recalls. Pravin.
But being severely malnourished turned out to be a nightmare for Jadhav on the run. Once he passed out while warming up. Bhujbal provided all dietary requirements and incurred the expense of Pravin’s training so that he could compete.
With a better diet, Jadhav proved success at the taluka and district levels. This earned him a selection for the Maharashtra government’s Krida Prabodhini scheme, which provides free training, education and accommodation to athletes from rural areas in residential academies.
Archery came by accident at the Krida Prabodhini hostel in Ahmednagar when he was selected for the sport during a drill in which he threw 10 out of 10 balls into a ring from a distance of 10 meters.
“Since my body was a little weaker, they asked me to try archery and I have continued to do so ever since,” says Jadhav.
Thereafter, Jadhav was stationed at Krida Prabodhini in Amravati, Vidarbha, honing his archery skills. Initially, he wore a traditional bamboo bow for a year before moving on to modern gear.
Archery is a difficult sport to master. Most budding archers have a difficult time at first, and many lose patience within a year. Pravin struggled with the weight of a recurve bow and used to experience pain in his shoulders while shooting the arrow. Despite being physically weak, a determined Pravin pressed on. He kept going through the pain and a series of poor results during the learning curve.
“I knew that I would have to work as a laborer if I was not successful (in archery), so I kept working hard. In the most difficult moments, I used to think that after doing all the hard work to reach this stage I can’t let go and accept defeat, so I kept working hard to achieve my goals, “he said.
The next test for Jadhav came as his stint at Krida Prabodhini was coming to an end and he had to buy his own archery equipment in order to continue his journey in the sport. An archery equipment cost around Rs 3 lakh and he did not have the finances.
“The government helped me. Since I had participated in a World Cup (Archery World Cup 2016 in Medellín, Colombia) for India, I got the government grant and used that money to buy my equipment.”
Jadhav’s financial situation has improved somewhat, especially after he joined the Indian army in 2017 on the sports quota. Now he trains at the Army Sports institute in Pune.
The journey from Sarade town to Tokyo has been arduous, but Pravin knows he is living his dream.