The 4 feet-5 inch tall shuttler feels his win is a testimony to the fact that no disability is big enough to stop you from reaching great heights. “I was subjected to bullying and awkward staring, and that did bother me. My friends never did that, but there were people who said, ‘ Height nahi hai, kuch nahi kar paayega (you are not tall enough and will not be able to achieve anything in life)’. Those words really hurt me but today I feel what I have achieved as a badminton player is an answer to those who question people with disabilities,” the second seed from Jaipur told TOI after the final.
It was when Krishna was one-and-a-half years old that his parents discovered that he suffered from dwarfism.
“After several check-ups we were told by the doctors that there was some hormone deficiency in the pituitary gland. We refused to get a surgery done as it was risky. Humara beta jaisa hai haemin waisa hee achha lagta hai, yahi socha phir humne (We were all happy to accept our son the way he was),” said Krishna’s father Sunil.
Bouncy and full of life, the Paralympian was at a loss of words to explain his excitement at winning the final. He said that he was looking forward to visiting home and eating a lot of good food. “I have lost a lot of weight and when I reach Jaipur, all I will do is eat and talk endlessly with my family and friends,” the shuttler said.
It was not a facile win for Krishna as the first game flip-flopped quite a bit before the Indian cleared the deficit after the mid-game interval and made a comeback to win it by 21-17. Chu Man Kai did not let 11-7 advantage slip and sealed the second game by 21-16.
Before the decisive third game, the national para badminton coach Gaurav Khanna had valuable advice to offer to his young protégé. “Krishna’s fitness, reach and attitude are his biggest plus. When the scores were level after the two games, the only thing I told him before he went for the deciding game was to focus on single points, to stay calm and not attack,” said Khanna.
Krishna was quick to take a 5-1 lead and entered the mid-game interval with a lead of 11-7. The Hong Kong player bounced back to level the scores at 14-14, before the Indian took the game at 21-17. He won all the four matches and remained unbeaten in the tournament.
Krishna is currently employed as assistant conservator of forest in Rajasthan.