Bhubaneswar: Para-athlete Rakhal Kumar Sethi from Odisha is striving to head for Rome to participate in upcoming Wheelchair Fencing World Championships 2017 scheduled from November 6-12.
The 10-time national champion Rakhal has been selected for taking part in the world championships, but poverty poses as the biggest hindrance on his way to Rome.
However, he is busy in rigorous practice at Karan stadium in Panipat of Haryana state for the international para-athletic event.
Divyang boy Rakhal hails from Bhandaripokhari in Bhadrak district. He had started his career in sports under the coach Bishnu Charan Sahoo in 2010. He has made Odisha and country proud for earning 20 medals (10 golds, 4 silvers and 6 bronzes) so far in several wheelchair fencing competitions.
Despite medals and laurels brought for the nation and state, he still struggles to get government’s assistance.
The para-athlete, who lost his father from childhood, owns a tea stall, which is his only source of income to manage his family and purchase sports equipment for his practice.
Earlier, he had participated in world cup 2015 in Canada, Asian Championship 2016 in Hong Kong, World Cup Wheelchair Fencing competition 2017 held in February in Hungary.
Recently, Rakhal bagged three gold medals and one bronze for the country in National Championship 2017. He qualified for the World Championships by taking part in world cup in Poland from June 28 to July 3.