Mumbai's Ishaan Kanojia wins silver medal despite cracking 2 ribs, barely being able to breathe
City boy, 15, fights his way to silver at the Khelo India games despite cracking three ribs and barely being able to breathe
When Andheri boy Ishaan Kanojia was competing in the judo boys' 60kg final at the Khelo India School Games in New Delhi last week, he was fighting not just his opponent, but immense pain as well. Ishaan had ruptured two of his ribs in his first bout earlier in the day and was struggling to breathe at one point, during his semi-finals.
After a medical check-up, he was advised against playing in the final by one of the stadium doctors. But the Utpal Sanghvi Global School (Juhu) athlete was adamant to play and won a silver medal for Maharashtra. His father, Suresh, an 'A' Grade international judo referee, recounted his son's ordeal: "During his very first bout, Ishaan hurt two ribs, but did not realise it. He kept playing the match and won. Then, in the semi-finals, he started getting pain and was uncomfortable with his breathing. After the bout, he told me about his condition, and as there was a gap of three-and-a-half hours between the semi-final and final, I got him checked by one of the stadium doctors."
Ishaan Kanojia is all smiles with father Suresh and mother Pooja after winning silver in the judo boys' 60kg final of the Khelo India School Games at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex in New Delhi last week
Mother, Pooja, a sports nutritionist and homeopath, was also present at the venue. "The doctor clearly told us that he should not play the final, but Ishaan refused to listen and asked the doctor to administer a painkiller instead. The doctor warned us that we were making our son play at our own risk. Pooja and I had tears in our eyes, but somehow we stood by our boy," Suresh added.
Ishaan, 15, said he wanted to play at any cost. "When the doctor told me that I'm not fit to play the final, I was very upset. I just wanted to walk out of there, but I hung on. In my mind, I was convinced that I would overcome the pain because I desperately wanted to play that final," said Ishaan, who is no stranger to pain. A few years ago, a back injury had almost ended his judo career.
"In 2014, doctors had advised us to discontinue Ishaan's judo after he suffered a lower back injury. But we did not give up, and kept consulting other specialists. Finally, Delhi-based sports medicine expert, Dr Tarun Sachdeva, treated Ishaan for almost a year and he resumed his judo training," said Suresh, who began coaching Ishaan when he was just two-and-a-half years old. A Class X student, Ishaan harbours dreams of winning the ultimate prize for his country. "I want to win an Olympic gold for India," he said. With determination like this, nothing is impossible!
Ishaan's medal story over the years
> Silver medal in 2012 Sub-Junior National Judo Championship at Guwahati
> Gold medal in 2016 Sub-Junior National Judo Championship at Patna
> Silver medal in 2017 National School Games at Karim Nagar (Telangana)
> Silver medal in recent Khelo India School Games