Irfan Bin Hamed Al Hamoomi, a visually-challenged judoka from the city, wins a bronze medal in judo in the Junior World Games (Paralympics) in Hungary

He cannot see the colour of the medal he won. But, the immense joy on his face when he gets a ‘feel’ by touching it is symbolic of the spirit of 20-year-old Irfan Bin Hamed Al Hamoomi, a visually-challenged judoka from Hyderabad, who won a bronze in judo in the Junior World Games (Paralympics) in Hungary last week.

Irfan, a student of Chanchalguda Junior College, was elated when the reference was made to his bronze in Hungary.

“The conditions were very tough. It was freezing cold everywhere and I am glad that I did not disappoint my coach (M. A. Aziz) and the Art of Living organisation for funding it,” he said on return to the city.

Humble origins

Son of a street vendor, Irfan was the only from Andhra Pradesh to get selected for the Hungary Games.

“I think I proved a point or two with this medal. Now, I am dreaming big to qualify for the 2014 Paralympics,” he says.

This performance has enabled the Hyderabadi to be picked up to represent India in the qualifying edition in Russia where the judokas will be finalised to take part in the Paralympics.

Tough fight

“It is going to be tough but I will train really hard,” he says while pointing out that the Nationals in Delhi in January 2014 could well be a big test before that.

Aziz, former national champion and a jury member in the 2012 London Paralympics, pointed out that a Uttar Pradesh boy who won the gold in the Hungary Games was given a cash incentive of Rs. 15 lakh by the Akhilesh Yadav-led government on his return. “We hope at least Rs. 5 lakh is given to this fighter,” he says.

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