Para canoe’s power couple and their perfect love story in Hangzhou

India’s Manish Kaurav and Prachi Yadav have been married for three years and both of them won medals at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games 27 Oct 2023
Prachi Yadav and Manish Kaurav, wife and husband, won medals in Para canoe for India during the Para Asian Games in Hangzhou 2022.
Prachi Yadav and Manish Kaurav, wife and husband, won medals in Para canoe for India during the Para Asian Games in Hangzhou 2022.
By Ayano Shimizu | The IPC

Prachi Yadav, the first Indian athlete to take part in Para canoe at the Paralympics, is always nervous before her husband Manish Kaurav competes. She is more relaxed before her races and thinks about how special it would be to celebrate at a major international tournament together.

At the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China, Yadav and Kaurav captured medals in their events on the same day and shared the special moment together. Yadav captured the gold medal in the women’s KL2 final on 25 October, just after Kaurav finished with a bronze medal in the men’s KL3 final, which was won by Uzbekistan’s Khasan Kuldashev.

“I’m always so happy when my husband wins a medal because in his event, there is tough competition. So I’m happy whenever he wins a medal, I feel so happy,” said Yadav, who also won the silver medal in the women’s VL2 final.

“When I compete, I know that I’ll win a medal. But watching him compete, I get nervous. I always feel more nervous when he competes.”

Prachi Yadav won a gold and a silver medal in Hangzhou 2022. @IPC

Para canoe made its Asian Para Games debut at Hangzhou 2022, which opened following a one-year postponement because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ten medal events took place at the FY Water Sports Centre in the eastern Chinese city.

Kaurav said he was not worried about his wife’s competition.

“I already knew that she would win a medal. But I also wanted to win medals so we can win together,” he said.


We are family

Manish Kaurav won a bronze medal in Hangzhou 2022. @IPC

While they compete separately, both Kaurav and Yadav say that their bond is what makes them better athletes. For Kaurav, his wife is his “idol” – she has been his training partner and his biggest supporter.

They train together with other athletes at a water sport academy in India and compete in competitions for able-bodied athletes. They pray together before taking part in international tournaments, and they visit a temple in Rajasthan if they earn medals.

“Sometimes I feel very stressed and Prachi is the one who always supports me. She motivates me by saying, ‘Yeah, you can do better. You can do it’,” he said. “That’s how we inspire each other.”

Yadav, who finished fourth at Tokyo 2020, said her husband’s support is vital to her success, but also expressed how she wants him to succeed at international events.

“As we are family, it is our biggest strength and we also have support from our parents and other family members,” Yadav said.

“My husband has been competing in Para sport for more than 10 years but he started winning medals internationally last year. So that’s why I always want him to win more and more medals. And because he is my husband.”

A love story


Manish Kaurav competed in KL3 class and wants to be in the Paralympic Games next year. @IPC

The two athletes met after Yadav, a former Para swimmer, started Para canoeing in 2017. She launched her career in the sport with the help of Kaurav, who also switched from Para swimming four years before she did.

“When I first met him, he was like India’s number one athlete (in the sport) and I wanted to be like him. He was very kind and he was very, very good to me,” Yadav recalled.

“We started training together. He helped me a lot during training and that’s how we started to develop feelings for each other.”

They dated for two years before Kaurav proposed and Yadav said ‘Yes’.

Prachi Yadav won the KL2 final and was second place in the VL2 final in Hangzhou. @IPC

In Hangzhou, the couple did not have a big celebration. But instead, they are planning a trip to Goa, a state in southwestern India popular for its beautiful beaches, to celebrate the big milestone.

When they are back, they will start training so they can create history at the Paralympic Games. No Asian nation has won a medal in Para canoe at the Paralympics.

“When I started my journey in Para sports, I’ve always wanted to win medals for my country. Now we are together so we both want to win medals,” Kaurav said. “Winning medals at the Paralympics is our biggest dream.”