“You never know if you can do something against all odds until you do it.” – Abby Wambach
Despite never having met Chopra, Madhi Rathva, a native of Odd village in Chhota Udepur, used his inspiration to win a gold medal in javelin throwing at the recent National Athletics Championships held in Delhi. Madhi, who has five siblings and was born blind, never let her eyesight issues stop her from following her passion for athletics.
The stories of Neeraj Chopra’s golden Oly achievement not only inspired Madhi, but they also broke through her inhibitions as an 18-year-old student, inspiring her to dream of accomplishing a comparable feat despite her vision impairment.
“I’m overjoyed that I took home a gold medal at the national competition. I threw a javelin 15 meters to win the competition for visually challenged athletes. It is my first significant success and my school and our sports coach Vishram Gadhvi deserve all the credit for it,” Madhi told TOI.
Madhi Rathva, a class 8 student at Surabhi Lions Blind School, claimed that she has been involved in athletics since she was a little child and has competed in shot-put and javelin events in her community.
However, Madhi added, “I only started learning the sport professionally after I moved to Vadodara.” Madhi’s school recognized her talent and placed her under a coach.
“I initially struggled with the training, but an hour of practice every day helped me gain strength. I took part in competitions at the district level and the Khel Mahakumbh as well. The administration of my school then pushed me to compete in the national finals that the Indian Blind Sports Association was hosting. I’m currently getting ready for the worldwide competition. My favorite actor is Neeraj Chopra, and I just started following him on Instagram “said the daughter of a farmer.
Madhi hopes that her success would encourage other children with disabilities to take part in other sports and compete bravely.