Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda has dedicated his silver medal winning feat at the London Paralympic to the disabled community in the country and asserted that their hard work and sacrifice was no less than the medal winners at the Olympics.
Girisha, who has an impairment in his left leg, sailed over a height of 1.74m in the Men's High Jump F42 event in London finishing second.
"I am very happy that finally my hard work earned result. It is a pity that in India every sportsperson gets help but as fas as para athletes are concerned, only government takes care of us. No one takes us seriously but our hard work is no less then any Olympic medallists," Girisha told PTI Bhasha from London.
Girisha is hopeful that the scenario will change for good after his medal .
"I hope that my medal will bring a significant change in India and Para athletes will get their due recognition. I dedicate this medal to disabled community in India. I hope that this will inspire them to become sports person," said the 24 years old, who hails from Hassan district in Karnataka.
He rued the fact that despite being a big nation, Indian Paralympic contingent had only 10 competitors.
"Here everyone asks us that your country is so big but there are only 10 players in your team. It is shameful. I hope that we will have a bigger contingent in Rio in 2016," he said.
Still unemployed, Girisha has struggled a lot to manage his finances but now he is hoping to get a decent job in SAI .
"I have no source of income. My family, SAI centre Bangalore, PCI and coach (Satyanarayan) have supported me so far. Karnataka government has sanctioned five lacs after my selection for Paralympic. Sports minister Ajay Maken has announced to give jobs to all medalists in SAI. I will meet him once I reach India and I hope that I get a decent job."
Girisha, who began his career in 2006, clinched a gold medal in the second Kuwait international Open athletics and used to compete with able-bodied athletes at school and college level.
London Olympic silver medalist Sushil Kumar is his role model and he takes a lot of inspiration from him.
"Sushil won bronze in Beijing and now silver in London. He is a true role model and champion. When I saw him and the Indian tri-colour in London, I thought that I should also bring laurels for my country," said Girisha.
When asked about future plans, he said that his aim is to win gold in Rio.
"I could win a gold here, missed by a whisker. I can win gold in Rio. This year there is world championship in Paris and I am targeting gold there as well," he said. A cricket buff, Girisha has a wish to meet his idol Sachin Tendulkar.
"I grew up watching him playing. He is like god for all cricket fans and I am one of them. He is such a icon and yet so humble. I want to meet him but don't know when it will happen," he said.