The article brings into light sections of life of Nidhi Mishra, who The Informer contributor Jennifer talks to one chilly winter evening at Nilgiri Dhaba, ruminating on the nature of sports for differently abled and tackling the many chinks in the armour of a sportsperson while residing in University:
If modern psychology has understood that to imagine less is going to bring you less, it has a lot to speak about our belief system in our abilities, in our attitude, and thereby predict our success rate.
One such person whose belief system we share here has recently won medals in both track and field events- gold in the discus throw and 100 m sprint and silver in shot put at the recently concluded 20th IBSA (Indian Blind Sports Association) National Sport meet at the Thyagaraja Sports Complex at INA Colony, New Delhi.
Blindfolded in most of her events, playing in the B1 category for ‘totally blind’, Nidhi describes the art of doing sports fueled by imagination. Difficult yet how powerful!
During her practice sessions, although ‘touch’ is essential to feel the movements and routeing power using a combination of limbs, imagining how to possibly make it work, begins with her belief system. Thriving on life-challenges has constructed a house of grit inside which makes her push, herself to the limit.
Winning medal is not important she quips but to be able, to give one’s complete best, is crucial. Such is her relationship with success and failure. Although her achievements provide the necessary development of her ability to do sports, she cannot overlook her failures in maintaining consistency at daily practice.
In her undergraduate days, she frequented Nehru stadium from Delhi University but now has to makeshift at IIT Delhi for practice due to lack of proper arrangement of -areas and equipment in JNU stadium. Hardships, such as lack of transport to IIT-Delhi, funds for ‘guide runners’ don’t dampen her spirit, though.
To build trusted relations between the ‘guide runner’ and visually impaired ‘athlete’, has its own ups and downs, finding well-trained guide runners is a very difficult task. Technically guide runners must be licensed by sports authorities, due to the high level of difficulty in supporting a blind runner on tracks, with the means of a simple rope looped around the index finger of partners from end to end just like you can see in the photo below:
A ‘guide runner’ essentially has to train just like their blind runners, as both will step onto tracks on racing day together. Both have to keep up their fitness with proper diets and supplements, which becomes an expensive affair for most visually impaired athletes if they come from the disadvantageous background.
As Nidhi gears up for the upcoming ASIAD Prelims in 2017 alongside World Championship trials in Delhi she expects help to come her way from Varsity University, that has looked after coaching, diet counselling, taking care of entry fee, registrations and recording past results of athletes and subsequent evaluation of performances up till now.
While persuading and persisting has been basic to her nature she has always put her experiences into the application to bring changes and growth in sports for visually impaired in the University. Even when most things have not been going well she chose to stretch her bad chances aggravated by gender, visual impairment, internal politics, and infrastructural deficiencies. But these for her are not shortcomings as much as they are opportunities to stretch herself to learn something new every time life twists and turns.
Experiences in Sports began a journey of transfiguration, seeping into different realms of her life, having successfully completed her masters from the Centre for Historical Studies(CHS) she is now doing her MPhil at Centre for the Study of Discrimination and Exclusion(CSDE), alongside working on her dissertation on“Gender Construction in Bhojpuri Folk Song” under the Supervision of Dr Badri Narayan at School of Social Sciences, JNU. Besides, she is also the President of Godavari Hostel.
My chance meeting with Nidhi revealed an appealing selfhood, which has balanced itself steadily upon patience and an urgency of modern individuality. Both of which have been carved with a scalpel of her ability to think beautifully. Hailing from Varanasi, most of Nidhi’s primary support system, her family partly resides in Delhi while her parents visit her twice every month from UP. Her close circle of friends always remain by her side in times of need but Nidhi is very confident about managing her academics with the help of her laptop, as she pointed out. In her yearnings, to make her sports sustainable, she seeks ample training, durable volunteers and right facilities at her disposal to enhance her winning abilities. But like the Ancient Greek Wisdom has it and even Nidhi personally knows it “This Too Will Pass”, for everything is in transience.
Jennifer is a research scholar at CSSS and works as a sports correspondent at The Informer.
Categories: Sports and Wellbeing