Recognition after a long wait is special, says coach Vijay Munishwar

A coaching career spanning over two decades, that included three Paralympic Games; produced several champions who shone at major international events like Commonwealth Games and Asian Para Games, national para-powerlifting coach Vijay Munishwar’s resume has been loaded with achievements.

Munishwar, the founder of para powerlifting in India in 1991, was awarded the Dronacharya Lifetime award for this year along with seven others last month on the National Sports Day.

Overjoyed by the recognition, the national coach said: “Der aaye durust aaye (Better late than never).”

“I was expecting a recognition after Rajendra Singh Rahelu won the bronze at the Athens 2004 Paralympics. It was a historic moment for the country. Nevertheless the recognition has come now after a long wait, so it is special,” Munishwar, who has already been conferred the Arjuna Award for excelling in and para powerlifting 20 years ago in 2000, told the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).

Besides Rahelu, Munishwar has been coach to champions like Farman Basha (bronze at 2010 Asian Para Games), Shakina Khatun (bronze at 2014 Commonwealth Games), Sachin Chaudhary (bronze at 2018 Commonwealth Games) and Sudhir (bronze at 2018 Asian Para Games) among others.

Munishwar, a former para powerlifter and para athlete who has won several international medals and took part in 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games, was asked about how para powerlifting has changed over the years, to which he pointed out that the sport is more about technique and accuracy.

“Like any other sports, rigorous physical training is an important aspect of para powerlifting. But there are other aspects like diet and mental strength that also make the difference. Thus, mind power training becomes crucial in order to excel in this sport. Besides the coaches’ acute technical knowledge will also play an important role.”