Go Fund Me plea from Stevenage para-badminton player hoping to achieve Paralympic dream after open heart surgery

Gobi Ranganathan. photo: supplied

Gobi Ranganathan. photo: supplied - Credit: Archant

An international para-badminton player who has undergone open heart surgery is appealing for the public’s support to help him achieve his Paralympic dream.

Gobi Ranganathan, who began playing the disability sport competitively in 2007 and represents Stevenage, Herts and England, had major surgery in May to replace a leaky aortic valve and was told he may never play badminton again.

Now, following three months in hospital and intensive rehabilitation, the 39-year-old has his sights on being fit enough to compete for England in the Four Nations tournament in February next year against Scotland, Wales and Ireland – having won three golds in 2009.

With para-badminton announced as one of the new Paralympic sports for Tokyo 2020, Gobi – who has spina bifida – is using that competition as extra motivation for his recovery after undergoing more than 30 operations in his lifetime.

He must have intensive physiotherapy if he is to realise his dream, and is asking the community to help him to fund the treatment.

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Gobi, who carried the Olympic torch in Stevenage in 2012 and won world championship silver in 2013, said: “I rely heavily on my upper body for everything and the doctors had to break my sternum.

“I wasn’t allowed to do anything for six weeks, and then had the task of learning to stand and transfer from a bed to a chair again. It was a slow and painful process. My muscles had deteriorated.

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“I was getting physio on a daily basis but, now I’ve been discharged, the waiting list for community physio is 12 weeks – so I will have to go private.

“For the last couple of weeks I have just been sat around, as the actual act of leaving the house has been really difficult.

“Doctors are pleased with my progress and have given me the green light to play badminton. If this time next year I’m competing internationally again, that in itself will be a success, let alone if I make a podium place.

“This is one of the hardest times I have been through and I just want to prove to others that it can be done – that you can overcome adversity.”

Gobi’s fundraising page has already almost reached £1,000 – visit www.gofundme.com/getgobigoing to make a donation.

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