Usha’s son Vignesh forges new path

A doctor, he now has an IOC certification in sports medicine

Hockey legend Dhyan Chand’s son Ashok Kumar picked up his dad’s sport and won an Olympic bronze in Munich, 1972. And athletics great Milkha Singh’s son Jeev went on to become one of India’s finest golfers.

Many years ago, when P.T. Usha saw her little son Vignesh Ujjwal running around with a nice spring, she felt that he would turn out to be a good athlete. Ujjwal showed early promise, winning 100 and 200m golds in school, but he was never serious about track and field.

“When we made him run and conducted tests, he did very well. But he didn’t show much interest in athletics then. I would have loved if he had taken up athletics but we didn’t want to push him,” revealed Usha in a chat with The Hindu.

There is an important advice for parents here. Despite being one of the India’s greatest athletes, Usha felt that pushing her son into her sport was not proper.

The football link

“He showed that he could be good at football. When he joined medical college, he was a striker. Only then, we realised how much he loved the game,” said Usha.

Ujjwal, 27, is a doctor and it’s clear that he will not reach the highs his mother did when she ruled Asia in the 80s and came very close to an Olympic medal in Los Angeles 1984.

But the young man is slowly getting back to sport in his own way. A few days ago, Ujjawal gained an IOC diploma in sports medicine with distinction. The two-year online course, run by IOC’s Medical Commission, could see him studying athletes closely in the near future.

“Sports medicine is different from other branches of medicine, it’s very vast and it’s something I’m very interested in,” said Ujjwal. “Opportunities are vast, you can join a club as doctor or physio, or you can go abroad. Or you can always do research.”

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