Suhas Yathiraj is a famous paralympics badminton player who is ranked No.2 in the world and is currently the DM of Gautam Budh Nagar (Photo Credit: Narendra Modi Twitter)
The coronavirus pandemic is exponentially rising in India, with Uttar Pradesh having 410 cases so far. Gautam Buddh Nagar, which includes the key economic hubs of Noida and Greater Noida, has been the one of the worst hit in the state by the coronavirus. The Yogi Adityanath-led government has sealed hotspots in 15 districts of the state and has started the process to set-up testing labs for coronavirus at Government Institute of Medical Sciences in Greater Noida and Super Speciality Paediatric Hospital and Post Graduate Teaching Institute in Noida. On the ground, one man is leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Suhas Yathiraj, the District Magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar, was appointed on March 30 an urgent basis after the Yogi Adityanath government expressed dissatisfaction with the preparedness of the area, with BN Singh being removed. Prior to his appointment, Yathiraj was the DM in Prayagraj District. Yathiraj is very proactive and has so far, received plaudits for his work but did you know, that Yathiraj is a famous paralympics badminton player who is ranked No.2 in the world? Yes, this is true. Yathiraj won the gold medal in the 2016 Asian Para Badminton Championships in Beijing and is in contention to even qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, which has now been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic to 2021.
Yathiraj has a deformed ankle but he is vigorously leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Gautam Buddh Nagar. Speaking exclusively to Mid-Day, Yathiraj explained he is not even focusing on future tasks and is rather committed to tackling the coronavirus pandemic. "Sport is not even in the most remote corner of my mind right now. As a leader against this pandemic, it is my responsibility to initiate things. My immediate challenge was to put systems in place. It's about identifying the task in front of you and picking the people, who are capable of executing it. While maximum help from the government is required to ensure the supply of daily necessities to all, we also seek help from the society to cooperate in these tough times," Yathiraj told Mid-Day
When the coronavirus pandemic hit Gautam Buddh Nagar, there were only 40 beds. Now, there are over 600 beds to ensure that patients are given the adequate facilities to tackle the coronavirus. Yathiraj said he had to be mentally prepared for the challenge and his life as a sportsman taught him that.
Suhas Yathiraj has won the gold medal in the Asian Paralympics badminton tournament in Beijing in 2016. (Image credit: Twitter)
"A special 'Team 300' has been formed to work on a containment and awareness campaign. As a sportsman, I have learnt that there is no substitute for hard work. In a crisis, you have to be ready to work even 20 hours a day. You will get results only if you work sincerely. My teams are always alert. We are happily participating in meetings even around midnight," Yathiraj said.
A total of 300 containment teams have been formed by the authorities while according to official reports, the containment teams visisted over 50,000 families and they found close to 350 people with travel history. Yathiraj, in addition to being the DM, is also a gold medallist at the Turkish Open Para-Badminton Championships in Antalya in 2019 while he previously served as Special Secretary to the Planning Department. Indeed, Yathiraj is a true champion.