We all know the cliche quote that “Behind every successful man is a strong woman behind him” and in the case of Narayan Thakur, it is her mother who had been behind him throughout his life. Narayan gives all credit for the success to his mother Rima Devi. “What I am here today is all because of my mother. I lost my father at a very young age, but it was my mother who motivated me and make me feel special all the time”, he said.
Mother of Narayan Thakur selling paan masala at Samaypur Badli metro station
The para-athlete who was recently felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he became the first Indian to clinch a gold medal in men's 100m T35 category at the 2018 Asian Para Games held in Jakarta.
He revealed how his mother still runs a paan/gutkha shop at Samaypur Badli metro station. “Pichle 17 saal se ye paan maasale ka thela me yahan laga rahi hu (For the last 17 years, I am running this stall of Paan Masala to survive. For a woman and a widow, it was extremely tough to run a shop roadside. But I had no choice. Primarily it was awkward for me to work roadside but to give a proper life to my children, I was ready for anything through fair means”, Rima Devi said.
Para Athlete Narayan Thakur
On asking about how she feels when PM Modi honoured Narayan for his achievement, she said, “Today I am very proud and happy to have a son like Narayan who not only made me proud, but also he made the country proud. I want to say, never choose a wrong path or get depressed in bad times. God is here to look after us. The only things we need to do is to keep on doing hard work for what we want to achieve.”
The 27-year-old para-athlete who was born in Darbhanga, a city of Bihar before he moved to National capital as a teenager, became the first Indian to clinch a medal in men's 100m T35 category when he stood atop the podium for his gold medal at the 2018 Asian Para Games.
‘I cleaned DTC buses and worked as Waiter’
The story of the 27-year-old para-athlete is an inspiration for many. Narayan took birth with left-sided hemiparesis. On asking what, is ‘hemiparesis’, he said, “Under this condition, the left side of your body became paralysed.”
Para Athlete Narayan Thakur with Narendra Modi
Narayan along with his family came to Delhi when he was too young. The family thought migration to the national capital would change their fate but destiny have other plans for them to make the things worse. A tumour was detected in his father’s brain a few years later, due to which, he passed away. “I was only eight years old when my father passed away. Our world has changed after his death, my mother was helpless, and it was very tough for her to feed three children. She could hardly afford it. At the same time, she was worried about our future also so she decided to sent me to an orphanage ‘Rani Dutta Arya Vidyalaya’ in Daryaganj, as I would get food to eat and the chance to study with other facilities.”
Narayan Thakur spent eight years of his life in an orphanage, cleaned DTC buses, and worked as a waiter to surviveIn 2010, when he moved out of the orphanage, he again started staying with his family in jhuggi (temporary homes) near Samaypur Badli railway station. “That was the time when the jhuggis we were staying near Badli were demolished. We had no option but to shift to a nearby area. We were facing serious financial problems and overcoming that crisis, I had to clean DTC buses. It was tough for me to pursue my sports in the tough times. Even I worked as a waiter for just Rs250/day for almost two years,” Thakur informed.
When he started preparing for athletics, he had to go to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for practice, and hardly had any money to travel daily to the stadium as he had to change three buses from his home to the stadium.
“I could not afford to spend 40 to 50 rupees on bus tickets to reach Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium daily, so I changed my venue of training. Then I shifted to Thyagaraj Stadium for training. I left no stone unturned to get selected in the national and international championship”, he said.
In the year 2015, he bagged bronze in 100m category in National Paralympic Championship. And since then Narayan is continuously performing. It is the result of his hard work and dedication; he won gold in Jakarta. “I am happy to have won the gold for India in Jakarta. I am the only Indian to have won the athletics 100 m gold in Asian Para Games,” he confidently said.
“Winning Gold in 2020 Tokyo Olympic is my next target, and you can say it’s my dream”, Narayan said.