Adil Ansari: Disability couldn’t come between this archer and his dreams of winning gold
Despite 90% disablity, Adil Ansari (36), is a Paralympic archer who has added many facets to his kitty. He secured a gold in archery at the Rhotak Nationals in 2016. He also played at the World Championship qualifiers in Beijing in 2017. But before he could do all this, his life was a very different story.
Adil hails from a joint family in Mumbai’s Bhiwandi area. In 2002, he was out on a fun trip with his friends in Nashik. Tragedy struck when he accidentally hit his head on the river bed while diving. Due to the impact, his spinal cord fractured from the neck (c6-c7 levels) rendering him 90% paralyzed. He was rushed to the nearest hospital for immediate operation. There, he suffered a sever pneumonia due to the dirty water that had filled his stomach. The condition deteriorated so much that the doctors gave up all hope of saving him beyond 48 hours. But miraculously he survived beyond that time window. But for the next 28 days, he remained unconscious, surviving on a ventilator. For further 8-9 months, he breathed through a tracheal tube that supported his severely damaged lungs. After numerous operations to salvage his spinal cord, the doctors came to the end of the road.
Before the Change
For a long time after regaining consciousness, Adil kept grappling with the shock of his condition. Not even his hands would move then. But the acceptance didn’t come to him for the next 3 years; he kept dealing with bed soars and numerous other infections. Not even being able to drink a glass of water by himself, he many a times, confessed to his friends about his unwillingness to live. He had no sensation below neck. His condition hadn’t affected just him but his family as well. He recalls seeing his parents in constant sadness; his mother would cry in private. After seeing this, one day he noticed that although his life had come to a still, but for people outside, their lives were still going on. This, and the thought of his mother’s sadness, ignited a little spark in his spirit to try and bounce back. But this was just a little transient spark that all of us feel sometimes in life. But Adil decided to not let the moment pass and ceased it. Slowly strengthening his grip on his new reality, he decided to clear up his mind and allow new thoughts to seep in. As he says, “I wanted to now live for my parents”.
He started devising new ways of getting up from bed and getting onto the wheelchair; holding spoon and eat without spilling; and getting out of home. Adil says, “I wanted to become independent once again and for that it was important that I get out of home as much as possible”.
Soon his dreams started taking shape. He got his Activa suitably modified and became independent to travel. After that, one thing led to another.
His 1st Limca Book of Records entry: On 3rd December, 2013, World Disability Day, he undertook and completed a record 300 kms journey on his Activa via Mumbai-Nashik-Mumbai in 14 hours.
His 2nd Limca Book of Records entry: His second feat got him another Limca entry in 2016 when he completed a car journey via Mumbai- Delhi – Kolkata – Chennai – Mumbai. The total distance stood at 6016 kms in 7 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes.
Both the records were a new high by an India quadriplegic.
Arrow On It’s Mark!
Already free of his mind’s shackles, Adil traveled to Pune to meet his friend at the Army Sports Complex where he saw a compound bow for the first time in life. He credits his friend, Amol, for introducing him to the sport of archery. He immediately fell in love with the sport and decided to try it. But there was one major problem – how could he pull the arrow, as his fingers didn’t function. In the absence of finger function, he started using his palms to make do. He got a bow and started practicing holding the bow and studying the techniques. For the first three months, he couldn’t release even one arrow. Meanwhile, he kept devising techniques to solve this problem. He made and stuck with a strict practice schedule. From morning to evening, he would keep trying new ways.
One day, while practicing, his chin accidentally pressed on his fingers and the trigger got pressed, thus releasing the arrow and hitting the mark. He was mighty amused for he had finally discovered the technique.
An Archer’s Gold Dream
Since then, he has secured gold medals at the First Senior Para Recurve, Compound and Indian national archery championship in Rhotak in 2016. He also performed very well at the World Championship qualifiers in Beijing in 2017.
Currently he is preparing for Asian Games, Jakarta in October, 2018. But his real dream is to represent India at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and bring home a gold medal.
Adil Ansari’s perseverance and hard work is one fine example of courage in the face of insurmountable. The champion paralympic archer adds, “No matter how hard your circumstances be, if you learn to train your mind, no aim will seem too difficult to attain. The kind of thinking and commitment you keep, God shapes up the same kind of destiny for you”.