Mark Dharmai at Thailand  Para-Badminton International 2017
Mark Dharmai at Thailand Para-Badminton International 2017

Till about a month back, Mark Dharmai wouldn't even have thought of being able to participate in the Thailand Para-Badminton International 2017 due to lack of funds. However, the fisherman-turned-para-badminton player from Bandra's Chimbai village, all of four-foot-two-inch-tall, has ended up bagging a silver medal in the Men's Doubles category at the recently concluded championship.

The feat was possible due to an ongoing crowdfunding campaign that mid-day had reported about last month.

Also read - Mumbai: 4-ft 2 inches fisherman-turned-para-badminton player eyes Championships gold

While Dharmai was able to beat Thailand in the quarterfinal, he lost to China in the semis. "I am thrilled with a silver medal. It's dedicated to my team and well-wishers. They believed in my abilities. The difference between me and the gold medal is the size of my girth," chuckled the 32-year-old, speaking from Bangkok, the host city.

Born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, Dharmai has been playing badminton since 2010. Without any formal training, he learnt the sport watching YouTube videos of Chen Long (China), PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, and clinched his first international medal in 2013 at a world championship in Germany.

As per Badminton World Federation records from November 2016, Dharmai stands third in Men's Doubles and Mixed Doubles categories.

The Rs 8.85-lakh campaign, which is live for five more days on Fueladream.com, will also help fund his travel to Canada for World Dwarf Games in August, and the world championships in the USA and South Korea, to be held at the end of the year.