KUALA LUMPUR: Para archer S. Suresh has become famous in Malaysia after winning the World Archery Para Championships gold medal in s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands on Sunday.
His journey to the world title, however, was not smooth sailing. He endured many challengers along the way in his pursuit of becoming the best men’s para recurve archer in the world.
The 25-year-old from Kuala Ketil, Kedah lost half his left leg in a lorry accident together with his father, Selvathamby, when he was 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 mother, Dewani Chandran, who worked in a factory to raise Suresh and younger brother Kalidasan.
“People used to tell my mother that I was worthless as I was involved in archery. They said I will not be able to look after my family.
“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.
Suresh is the first Malaysian to win a world para archery title. He defeated Eric Benett of the United States 7-3 in the men’s recurve individual final on Sunday.
Suresh started his journey in archery in 2012 when former national para archer, T. Suresh encouraged him to take up the sport as coach M. Puvaneswaran, who was also the 2015 Singapore Asean Para Games para archery team manager, was looking for new archers.
“I was studying at Institut Kemahiran Langkasuka, Gurun at that time, so I did not train regularly. However, I still managed to win a silver medal at the 2012 Para Malaysia Games. I still couldn’t focus on training then because of the necessity to work due to my family’s hardship.
“In 2013, I was absorbed into the national team, but still I faced a lot of challenges. I had to adapt with the training routine and environment. However, I carried on.
“I represented the country in the 2014 Myanmar and 2017 KL Asean Para Games, but had bad outings. 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 success became stronger. However, Suresh slowly made his way back into the national team.
Suresh said the target was to qualify for next year’s Paralympics but he was determined to win a gold medal.
“I was shocked that the news about my success became viral in Malaysia. I thought only a few would write my story. it is great that people are sharing my news on social media,” he added. Bernama