Abhishek Thaware is India’s only teeth archer. Hailing from Nagpur, his story is one of overcoming disability at a very young age. When he was one year old, his right arm stopped functioning owing to a Doctor’s negligence. As he grew up, he started participating in running, but a knee injury left him incapable of that. In spite of all these difficulties he didn’t lose his hopes for being an athlete. He may have stopped running on track, but in life, he’s racing at a fast pace.
Meet Abhishek Sunil Thaware who plays for India under both, normal athletics and Para Athletics.
1. How did you start with archery?
Since a very young age, I’d wanted to be a sportsman. After my knee surgery, I’d no clue of how to go back to sports. However, I started swimming to keep myself fit. One of my acquaintances, who is an archery player took me with him to his matches. He suggested me to try teeth archery which is done by very few people in the world. Seizing the opportunity, I started my practice, but it took me around two years to start. Archery equipments cost a lot and I didn’t have that kind of funding. In 2014, my mother bought me the equipments by mortgaging her jewellery. Only then could I start with my practice.
2. When did you play your first archery match?
My first Archery match was at the state level in April 2015 in Dharavi, Mumbai. At that time, I was just learning the game so it was more of a practice for me rather than a match. I played it with just getting an experience in my mind.
3. How did you manage to master the art of teeth archery?
Hard work has been my only friend throughout this journey. My coach resides at a place 8 hours away from Nagpur. He saw me playing and approached me for coaching. I visit him for a month once every year for guidance. I carry his teachings with me back to Nagpur and try to implement all of it in my practice.
4. What attracted you the most about sports that you were so adamant on getting into one of them?
The time when I started understanding things, I got one thing. Everyone would say they would like to become doctors or engineers, but patriotism would arise only on two days of the year i.e. Republic Day and Independence Day. It was my dream to do something for my country. I would have joined defence if my health allowed me, but with my disability I cannot go there. To have India’s flag on my chest and India written on my back, representing India is one thing I’m proud of.
5. What is the one thing you experienced while playing that you’ll always remember?
I’ll never forget the worry when I went to play at Patiala University. When my turn came, I saw that someone had messed with my equipment. A very small but very important device by which we take the aim had been removed from my bow. I managed to fix it with doctor’s tape at the time, but it could not be as efficient.
6. What are your plans for the future?
Currently, I’m worried about my equipment which is broken down. I need someone to sponsor my new equipment as my performance is suffering because of that. Other than that I’ve to focus on the upcoming international tour.
7. What message would you like to give to the youth who want to go for sports in their career?
My message would be for parents. Most of the parents don’t allow their children to play any sport after 10th standard. Science is not the only thing worthy of attention. Many kids who remain national champions till 10th suddenly get disappeared. I just want to say that don’t stay away from sports in your life. These days sports are so essential for fitness. You can do running when a doctor advises you to, why not cultivate a hobby that keeps you fit in advance.