Para archer targets Olympic medal

(Left pic) Dewani giving her son Suresh a kiss as he shows off his gold medal won at the World Archery Para Championship in Holland. (Top) Suresh in action at the competition on June 9.

PARA archer S. Suresh, who won gold at the World Archery Para Championships 2019 in Holland, has done his mother C. Dewani proud.

The 44-year-old widow is on cloud nine but despite her son offering to support her financially, she still has her feet rooted in reality and won’t quit her job as a factory operator just yet.

Suresh, 25, said he told his mother that she no longer needed to work 10-hour shifts over a five-day week.

“I told her that I can now support her. But she said she does not mind working the long hours.

Suresh in action at the competition on June 9. 

“She also said that no matter how famous I became, I should never forget my roots.

“My mother has been supporting me since my father died in a road accident when I was 13.

“She gave me money for archery training,” he said in an interview at his home in Kuala Ketil, Kedah.

Suresh made history when he won a gold medal in the recurve event at the World Archery Para Championships on June 9.

That victory secured Suresh a spot in the Tokyo Paralympics next year.

The only other Malaysian to win at the World Archery Para Championships was the late Salam Sidik with a bronze in Turin in 2011.

When asked whether his mother would fly to Tokyo with him, Suresh said: “Probably not but I hope she will show up at the airport when I return home with a medal.”

The Perak-born youth lost his left leg in the same road accident that took his father’s life. He now wears an artificial limb.

He grew up in Kedah and took up archery when he was 17.

“In 2011, I followed a friend to Taman Bandar Baru in Sungai Petani for an archery session with M. Puvaneswaran, a Kedah state coach in para archery.

“Both my friend and I didn’t know anything about archery at that time.

“We were just curious to learn more about the sport.

“Soon after, I trained for eight months to prepare for a competition and there was a lot of missed arrows at first.

“I won a silver medal at the Para Sukma Games 2012 in Pahang.

“After that, I became more determined to get better at archery.”

Suresh said that on five occasions he had to quit his part-time job at handphone repair shops and factories as he needed to take time off to attend competitions.

“I needed a job then as we were quite financially tight.

“Now I rely on the allowances I get from a state sports body to support myself.

“In 2014, I got into the national team and was able to focus better on the game.

“I then took part in the Asean Para Games 2017 and Asian Para Games 2018.”

On Wednesday, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir presented a certificate of appreciation and RM5,000 cash award to Suresh for his recent gold win.

The ceremony held at Wisma Darul Aman in Alor Setar was also attended by Dewani as well as Suresh’s uncle S. Jayabalan, 34, aunt M. Santhi, 50, and cousin N. Malini Reddy, 24.

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