Itanagar: Biri Takar, a 21-year-old para-shuttler, from Arunachal Pradesh has created history by becoming the first para-athlete from the northeastern state to represent India in an international badminton event.

A native of Rakso village in Kra Daadi district, Takar is among the 42 shuttlers selected by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) to compete at the Spanish Para Badminton International-II. The competition is scheduled to begin from February 27 at Zabalgana in Spain. 

Though Takar’s selection in the Indian team has brought joy to him, his family and well wishers, the happiness could be a short-lived one as he is yet to secure a sponsor for his tickets and visa.

“We have been asked to bear our own expenses for the competition which is quite high (around Rs 4 lakh). I have been managing the same for all the national events on my own until now, thanks to my family, well wishers and the Paralympic Association of Arunachal (PAA), but this time it is different. It is an international event that is being held in a European country. I don’t know if I’ll be able to participate unless I get some support from the government,” Takar told EastMojo.

Takar’s father is a Group-D technician at Arunachal Pradesh State Transport Services.

“I’ve been given an opportunity to make my people and the state proud. So I appeal to the state government to support me as my only intention is to bring a good name to the state and the country,” he said.

Takar said not just him, but all other athletes who get selected for similar events need is a small push from the government; there are many who can bring laurels for the state and the country.  

“The world knows about India and some of its big states. I want the world to know about Arunachal Pradesh, so I’ll give my best to win this competition, if given the opportunity,” he added.

PAA secretary general Techi Sonu said the PCI has asked all the selected athletes, including Takar, to get their tickets booked by the 20th of February.

“As per the schedule given to us, Takar has to reach New Delhi on February 23. From there he will be departing for Spain with other team members and PCI officials on February 25,” Sonu said.

The PAA secretary general said his association is making efforts to meet the chief minister and sports minister for their support but both of them are presently out of station.

“We are hoping that the CM and the sports minister will help us once they know about Takar’s selection. I would at the same time also appeal to the people of the state to support and cheer for him as he has the potential to win the competition and make us all proud,” Sonu said.

Takar, who is currently pursuing his Master’s in Communication at Rajiv Gandhi University here, was among the top 8 shuttlers (out of more than 580) from the country to be qualified for the Spanish Para Badminton International-II during the national championships held at Bhubaneswar, Odisha, in December last year.

If things go well, Takar will compete in the men’s singles (SL4) category for India.

Also read: At Tawang, Arunachal CM hoists 2nd highest Tricolour

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