‘I never thought I’d see the day’ – Stevenage para-badminton player nets two silver medals after doctors said he may never play again
- Credit: Archant
An international para-badminton player has defied doctors who said he may never play again by winning two silver medals in a UK competition at the weekend.
Gobi Ranganathan began playing competitive badminton in 2007 and represents Stevenage, Herts and England in the disability sport discipline.
But the 39-year-old, who has spina bifida and has undergone more than 30 operations during his lifetime, had to have open heart surgery to replace a leaky aortic valve in May last year and was told he may never play badminton again.
At the weekend, following months of intensive rehabilitation, he won two silver medals for England at the Four Nations tournament held in Scotland.
His latest haul can be added to the three gold medals he won in the Four Nations Para-Badminton Championships in 2009, three podium places in the European Championships in 2012, and a silver medal in the World Championships in 2013.
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Gobi, who carried the Olympic torch through Stevenage in 2012, said: “I’m really pleased. I never thought I’d see the day I’d be competing again. I have obviously come a long way since my surgery last year.
“After five months I was given the green light to get back on court and play socially. I was going to the gym and a friend, who’s a physio, helped me twice a week with cardio rehabilitation.
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“I felt so good I was planning in the new year to start training again – but since Christmas I have been ill with a chest infection, among other things.
“I actually only trained for two weeks, so it wasn’t the greatest preparation. I took the pressure off myself and just wanted to enjoy the competition and be part of the circuit again. Anything else was a bonus.
“I still have a long way to go in terms of my fitness, but this is a benchmark and I can see how far I have to go for the Four Nations in June. I hope to get back to international level again.”
Para-badminton has been announced as one of the new Paralympic sports for Tokyo 2020 and Gobi has his sights set on competing in the Games.
He must have intensive physiotherapy if he is to realise his dream. To help him fund the treatment, visit gofundme.com/getgobigoing