Yogesh Kathuniya is an Indian paralympic athlete who is known for representing India at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. He won a silver medal in the men’s discus throw F56 event.
Yogesh Kathuniya was born on Monday, 3 March 1997 (age 24 years; as of 2021) in Delhi, India. His zodiac sign is Pisces. Yogesh completed his schooling at Army Public School, Chandigarh, and then he went to Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in commerce. Yogesh was eight years old when his life changed completely. He suffered a paralytic attack, and on further inspection, it was found that he was suffering from a rare disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome. Along with this, he was also diagnosed with quadriparesis, which forced him to use a wheelchair as he lost the muscle strength in his legs.
Height (approx.): 6′ 2″
Hair Colour: Black
Eyes Colour: Black
Yogesh’s father’s name is Gyanchand Kathuniya, and he is a retired Indian Army personnel. His mother’s name is Meena Devi. Yogesh has an elder sister who is married.
After Yogesh was diagnosed with the rare disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome and quadriparesis, he was asked to use a wheelchair, and the doctors told his parents that there was no scope of improvement. In school, fellow students would make fun of Yogesh’s disability, and he lost interest in taking part in sports activities. However, his mother was devoted to helping Yogesh regain his muscle strength, and she learned physiotherapy to help Yogesh. She spent three years on his physiotherapy, and Yogesh finally regained his muscle strength and got rid of the wheelchair. During an interview, his mother said-
Apart from the Army hospitals, I would also travel to places like Agra, Meerut, and Jaipur when somebody told me to get Yogesh massaged from a local masseur. I remember once I spent more than 20 days at a famous massage specialist in a village on the Jaipur-Jodhpur highway in the sweltering June heat. I also learned physiotherapy and when Yogesh recovered, the same doctors at Base Hospital told me that it’s a miracle.”
In 2017, Yogesh enrolled in Kirori Mal College in Delhi University, where he made some new friends. Yogesh met Sachin Yadav, an athlete from the college team and the general secretary of the students union. In an interview, Yogesh said-
Sachin Yadav was general secretary of the students’ union at Kirori Mal College in New Delhi where I was pursuing a B.Com. He encouraged me to take up a sport and motivated me by showing videos of para-athletes. Somehow I got a liking for discus throw and decided to give it a try.”
After joining the college in 2017, Yogesh started showing interest in sports after his friends pushed him to participate in sports. Yogesh’s strong built and interest in sports was observed by his college coaches, and Yogesh started practising and participating in college events and games. Soon, he began training at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi under the guidance of the renowned national-level coach Naval Singh. In 2018, Yogesh made his international debut with the 2018 World Para Athletics European Championships in Berlin. He couldn’t get a podium finish, but he made a world record by throwing the disc 45.18 m away. In 2019, he won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships that took place in Dubai. This bronze medal victory helped him save a berth for the 2020 Summer Paralympics. Yogesh won a silver medal in discus throw when he threw the disc to a distance of 44.38 m.
- Won a bronze medal at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai in the F56 men’s discus throw event
- Won a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo in the F56 men’s discus throw event
- After his victory at the 2020 Summer Paralympics, his mother spoke to the media and talked about the hardships they faced when he was diagnosed with the syndrome. She said-
While the doctors at the Command Hospital at Chandimandir said they couldn’t see Yogesh walking in the future, I didn’t believe that. For more than two years, I would tie him with a cloth on my Scooty and take him for physiotherapy sessions at Command Hospital and PGIMER. To see Yogesh win the silver medal in Tokyo while tied with a strap to the wheelchair made me remember all those hard days. The silver is worth more than gold for us.”
- Yogesh is close friends with the Asian medallist Neeraj Yadav, who has helped Yogesh in his initial days. With the help of his other friends and Neeraj Yadav, Yogesh was able to start his training at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. His family also took a small loan from his friends and Neeraj Yadav to sponsor his first trip abroad for competition. During an interview, Yogesh’s mother said-
Friends like Neeraj helped Yogesh and it’s their silver medal too.”
- Before participating in the 2020 Summer Paralympics, Yogesh was at home due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, and during this lockdown, he gained more than 15kgs of weight. This affected Yogesh’s performance in the field. In 2020, Naval Singh tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and unfortunately, he tested positive again in May 2021. In order to keep his training going, Yogesh was sent to Sonipat to train with the 2018 Asian Games silver medalist Virender Dhankar.
- Yogesh loves sweet dishes, and his favourite sweet is ras malai. During an interview, his mother said-
Bimar hone se pehle bhi 4-5 plate ras malai kha jata tha aur abhi bhi yahi shauq hai (Before his ailment, he could eat 4-5 plates of ras malai, and it’s the same now). But we have never complained and he can have as many ras malais from the famous sweet shops of Ballabhgarh on his return.”
- Yogesh won a gold medal in shotput at the Open Para Athletics Championship in 2018 in Bengaluru.
- Yogesh has a YouTube channel named ‘Bichu Don Gaming’ that he started during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. On his channel, Yogesh posts gameplay of the famous battle royale mobile game PUBG. He also posts vlogs of his training sessions and his daily routine on the channel.