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Umeed India - E9 Sanjeev Kumar

It is ability that matters not disability'- truly defines Sanjeev. He serves as an inspiration to many like him but his journey was not an easy one. Despite not having facilities like other international players and initially training all by himself he has managed to excel at an international level, becoming the only para-badminton champion of India in ‘Wheel Chair 2’ category. Affected by polio and weak financial status, the only support he had was of his parents who somehow managed to arrange funds for his practice and tournaments. But his unbending dedication has always his strongest asset. Our host Virender Sehwag discusses these hardships and struggles with a hope that Sanjeev will get the facilities and recognition he deserves.

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    Virender Sehwag starts his new innings with EPIC Channel’s much-awaited show Umeed India. The debut episode features Avtar Singh – the only Indian Judoka to participate in Rio Olympics 2016. Although Avtar had humble beginnings in Gurdaspur, Punjab, today he is an inspiration to hundreds of aspiring Olympians. As a child, he often found himself working at his parents’ farm, while also being encouraged to partake in martial arts. Thanks to his passion and persistence, Avtar is one of the strongest contenders in the sport in Asia. His coach and mentor, Arjuna awardee Yashpal Solanki is training him to walk the path to glory at Tokyo 2020. Watch the show as Virender has a heart-to-heart with Avtar Singh – India Ki Umeed.

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    It is easy to spot Om Prakash Karhana in a crowd…standing at 6 feet 7 inches and weighing 135 kg with a boyish disposition and an infectious energy. But what makes this titan from Gurgaon, Haryana stand out is his potential for the unexplored sport shot put that earned him a bronze medal in the 20th Asian Athletics Championships (2013) and a gold medal at the 6th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships (2014) among other accolades to his credit. In the second episode of Umeed India, our host Virender Sehwag explores the life experiences, dedication and daily routine of this uber-talented shot putter, OP Karhana. Know how OP’s highly supportive family and his coach Bhupinder Singh helped him in earning the national record of distance 20.69m in shot put.

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    The name Phogat is known beyond just the wrestling circuits of India. It is a household story of courage and determination. From the family that has given some of our best wrestlers is Vinesh Phogat, introduced to wrestling by her uncle Mahavir Phogat when she only 7 years old. She won multiple accolades in the international wrestling arena including a gold medal from Common Wealth Games 2014 and a fantastic show at the Rio Olympics 2016, cut short by a heartbreaking injury. In the third episode of Umeed India, our host Virender Sehwag meets Vinesh to uncover her inspiring journey, fan her ambitions and the hopes of a billion people.

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    Every once in a while, we hear an astounding story that makes us realise that the only thing standing between the impossible and our dreams is determination. In the fourth episode of Umeed India ex-cricketing ace Virender Sehwag explores the journey of one such strong-willed athlete who chose to never give up despite adverse circumstances - Suyash Jadhav. Hailing from Solapur, Maharashtra, the 22-year-old battled several odds after losing both his arms in an accident, but left no stone unturned to become the first Indian para-swimmer to achieve an “A” qualifying mark for Paralympics in 2016 and at the next Paralympics he is India's Umeed for gold.

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    Ever since Rio 2016, Sakshi Malik is a household name. Hailing from Haryana, Sakshi ended India's wait for a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games by pulling off a sensational triumph with the bronze to her credit. In the fifth episode of Umeed India, sports icon Virender Sehwag explores the journey of this inspiring athlete and outlines her career and personal trajectory that paved her path from Rohtak to Rio.

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    At times, the urge to achieve a goal also culminates into several obstacles and situations in life. But the real spirit of an athlete lays in overcoming the hurdles and rising over it. One such determined athlete is the Odisha-born, professional sprinter and current national champion: Dutee Chand. Inspired and supported into the world of sprinting by her sister Saraswati Chand, Dutee was a strong-willed sportswoman since childhood. Getting pulled down from being qualified to the Commonwealth Games contingent in 2014, due to hyperandrogenism rules set down by Athletic Federation of India, was a huge traumatic incident in her life that brought about a pause in her athletic career. But she decided to fight against all odds and get justice with the support of many gender activists, former athletes and her resolute coach and Dronacharya Awardee Nagpuri Ramesh who condemned the decision, ultimately leading Court of Arbitration for Sports to revoke the hyperandrogenism suspension in 2015. Our star host Virender Sehwag delves deeper into her inspirational story and her journey from an amateur athlete to a professional sprinter on Umeed India.

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    From a tiny drought prone village in Maharashtra to rowing for the greatest sporting honour for his country, Dattu Bhokanal has come a long way. Overcoming crippling poverty and a fear of water, Dattu finished where no other Indian rower ever had -13th overall in the men's sculls event at the Rio Olympics. In this episode of Umeed India, Virender Sehwag introduces us to this unlikely hero who started out as a stone crushing labourer to help out his father. After his father's death, Dattu joined the army to make ends meet and was introduced to rowing. Today he is training to bring home the coveted medal in 2020, as we get a glimpse of how champions are made.

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    Every sportsman has some struggles prefixed to his journey, and if that sport is as unknown and as unheard of as luging, it takes a special kind of conviction to keep charging ahead. Five-time Olympian and face of winter sports in India, Shiva Keshavan’s transition from being a skier to luger is worth more than just a glance. Despite lack of funds and sponsorships, Shiva somehow managed to afford his competitions and trainings. The only support he could count on was that of his parents' and a borrowed luge, which was Shiva’s constant companion. Host Virender Sehwag explores luge as a sport and Shiva’s unsung tale.

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    It is ability that matters not disability'- truly defines Sanjeev. He serves as an inspiration to many like him but his journey was not an easy one. Despite not having facilities like other international players and initially training all by himself he has managed to excel at an international level, becoming the only para-badminton champion of India in ‘Wheel Chair 2’ category. Affected by polio and weak financial status, the only support he had was of his parents who somehow managed to arrange funds for his practice and tournaments. But his unbending dedication has always his strongest asset. Our host Virender Sehwag discusses these hardships and struggles with a hope that Sanjeev will get the facilities and recognition he deserves.

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    Shoot for Gold – the only mantra Ayonika Paul recites. She attempted air rifle shooting as a hobby but eventually it turned out to be her passion and profession. An expensive sport which requires specialized training and sophisticated equipment, Ayonika Paul has managed to make it her own at a very young age. Besides shooting she also has a scholastic ambition of being an engineer. Our star host Virender Sehwag delves deeper into what makes Ayonika Paul a true Olympian. Watch her inspiring story on #UmeedIndia with Virender Sehwag.

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    An ordinary girl with extraordinary dreams. From Bahadurpur to the Olympics, she crossed the threshold of her village and made it all the way to the most coveted arena in the world. Despite being from a conservative family, she managed to convince her father to let her play the sport of Javelin Throw and became the first Indian woman to qualify for the Athletics World Champions. She is a five times national record holder and the first Indian woman to cross the 60m mark. Our star host Virender Sehwag gives us a glimpse of Javelin Throw as a sport and Anu Rani’s incredible journey.

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    It has been a roller coaster ride for one of India's ace badminton player - Sai Praneeth. Struggling to stand out and make his own identity among other prominent badminton players like Sindhu, Kidambi and many more. Sai is training under the guidance of Pullela Gopichand and is the second shuttler to win a medal at World Junior Championship 2010. He earned a fair amount of success after beating Lee Chong Wei in Super series, winning gold at Thailand Grand prix etc. Our star host Virender Sehwag gives us a glimpse into the trials and triumphs of an extraordinary sportsperson.

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    Shiva Thapa – this boxing poster boy from Guwahati is a two-time Olympian and among the country’s youngest boxers to do so. Shiva fights in the Bantamweight Category and is 7th in the AIBA ranking . He started boxing at an early age and was heavily inspired by the Legendary Mike Tyson. His father was a karate instructor , who provided him the desired sports environment at home and also motivated him to take the sport seriously. Shiva clinched a gold at Asia Olympic Qualifiers in 2012 and qualified for London Olympics. He has won silver medal at the Asian championships 2017 and won a coveted gold at Czech Republic Boxing Tournament recently. Our star host Virender Sehwag gives us some insights into boxing and into this home-grown champ’s life.

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    Bajrang Punia is a freestyle wrestler and fights in 65KG category. He began wrestling at a very young age and was encouraged to pursue the sport by his father. He draws his inspiration from his coach and mentor Yogeshwar Dutt who himself is quite a name in wrestling and aspires to become like him. Bajrang has a long tally of medals which includes Silver in both Asian and Commonwealth Games 2014, Bronze in World Championship 2013. He has recently won a gold medal in Asian Championships 2017 and is also a Arjuna Awardee. According to Yogeshwar he is a potential Candidate for Olympics 2020. Our host star Virender Sehwag delves deeper in our pehlwan’s life and shares some insights of his life.

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