Pune: Havildar Soman Rana suffered a mine blast injury and lost his right leg while serving with his unit on December 1, 2006. While most people would consider losing a limb to be the end of their sporting career, Rana, true to the spirit of the Indian Army, overcame his fears and continued his para-athletics training with tenacity. Rana, now 38, has qualified for the seated shot put in the F-57 category for the Tokyo Paralympics, which will be held between August 24 and September 5.
Rana, who was trained at the Army Paralympic Node at the Bombay Engineer Group and Centre in Pune under the auspices of the Army Sports Control Board, is already an accomplished international para-athlete who is ranked second in the world in his category.
He comes from a modest family in Shillong, Meghalaya, was inducted into the Army Paralympic Node in 2017. The node provides a platform for specially-abled soldiers to participate in parasports and develop a positive outlook on life. “Since its raising in 2017, para-athletes of the node have won 28 international medals and 60 national medals. They have represented and won medals for India in Asian Para Games, World Military Games, World Para Championship and World Grand Prix events,” said an Army statement issued through the Defence Public Relations Officer (PRO), Pune.
Rana took the gold medal in the Tunis World Para Athletics Grand Prix earlier this year, as well as two gold medals and a silver medal in the XIX National Athletics Para Championship. “Soman Rana has done our country proud and is an inspiration for all the para-athletes in the Indian Army. He is a strong medal prospect to win a medal in Tokyo Paralympics,” said the press statement.
A senior Army officer stated, “Loss of a limb is often accompanied by its psychological ramifications. At the Army Paralympic Node, scientifically-oriented efforts are taken towards the overall training and development of the athlete as per the international standards. The node is currently training several para-athletes with promising future prospects.”