Gold medalist hid IIT success to pursue NDA goal

Gaurav Yadav, a gold medalist, had to jump through several hoops before enrolling in the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla, near here. On Wednesday, he was named the President’s gold medalist for the NDA’s 143rd course.

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Yadav, the son of a farmer from Rajasthan’s Alwar district, hid from his family the fact that he had passed the IIT entrance exam and had enrolled in a college in Delhi while continuing to pursue his NDA dream. He passed the NDA entrance exam twice but was denied admission after failing the Services Selection Board (SSB) interview. These setbacks didn’t deter Yadav, as the third time proved to be the charm.

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“I would imagine being interviewed by an SSB panel and responding to their questions,” Yadav said on the sidelines of the NDA’s passing out parade event on Wednesday.

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Vineet, the gold medalist’s Army brother, stated that the family was concerned about Yadav’s mental space at one point. Vineet went on to say that when he asked his brother about his IIT results, he said he couldn’t pass. “So I accepted his version. Only after being chosen for NDA did he tell us that he had also passed the IIT entrance exam “He stated. “He proved himself correct today by accomplishing an extraordinary feat. We are pleased with him. It’s a fantastic start to his military career.”

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He made his struggles count by excelling on all fronts – academic or military training – and bagging the most sought-after gold medal after sailing through his third attempt to enter the NDA. The ability to lead the parade was the icing on the cake.

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“It was something I never considered when I joined the academy,” he told. “In fact, I initially struggled to keep up with the academy’s training schedule, and I was wary of military training. But I persisted in pushing and motivating myself.” Yadav, who attended the Kerala Public School in Rewari, graduated with an A+ in Std X and a 96% in Std XII.

When speaking about him, his parents, Balwant and Kamlesh Yadav exuded pride: “We were confident in his ability to succeed and never discouraged him from doing what he loved. Since elementary school, he has excelled in both sports and academics. We got goosebumps seeing him lead the parade in front of all these people.”

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