Rinku Hooda is the youngest para athlete of his time. Work har and throw hard is his motto. He is an Indian para javelin thrower who competes in the F-46 category. Key takeaways from his experiences:
- Be focused on your target
- Make your own path to success
- Take full advantage of new opportunities
With the focus of a tiger’s gaze and agile quality of a doe, Rinku Hooda, 21 has won several accolades in track and field events. As the paralympian from the village of Dhamar near Rohtak, Haryana eyes the Paralympics. He carries with him memories of a journey that has been tough, but never a mental setback. Work hard was his main weapon all the time.
At the age of three, I lost my left arm to a paddy sowing machine’s blade, while walking in a field with my parents,” says Hooda. He hails from a village, a few kilometres away from the city of Rohtak, Haryana. He has come a long way from there, catapulting into the arena of sports as a professional athlete.He has win several accolades for the country. His journey began in 2013, “A friend of mine from the village, was the first to acquaint me with para sports. There was a competition nearby in Panipat where we both participated. “I initially started out with track events and would run 100, 200 and 400m races,” says Hooda, who stumbled upon javelin as a chance occurrence.
“The word ‘handicapped’ gives out a false notion of weakness. It is for those who are not familiar with the world of para sports. My only motto is work hard to reach your goal, and the rest will follow.
From 2015 onwards, Hooda started training for track and field events, under the guidance of his idol Amit Saroha. He was a fellow paralympian who is an Arjuna Awardee in the categories of Discus throw and Club throw. Upon watching “Chak De India,” Hooda was inspired by the way India’s sporting success was portrayed in the film.
And shortly, he was selected to be a part of the Indian team at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Here, he partook in javelin and stood fifth. Consequently, in the 2017 Asian Youth Games, he received a gold in javelin, and a silver at the 2017 Junior World Championship.
The turning point came in 2018 where his injury also contributed to him becoming as focused as a hawk. “While my elbow was injured, all I thought while recovering was how to reach my target to win my medal,” says the focused athlete. He won a silver at the 18th National Para Athletics Championships held in Switzerland. At the Asian Para Games in Jakarta in the same year, he won a bronze medal.
Despite achieving so much in a short span of time, life hasn’t been a bed of roses for Hooda. He says, “the word ‘handicapped’ or ‘disabled’ gives out a false notion of weakness. It is for those who are not familiar with the world of para sports. My only motto is work hard to reach your goal, and the rest will follow. Yes, around the world regardless of how much we have progressed, there are still limited resources and facilities for a person like me! But I strive to rise above my challenges and make my country proud.”