“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
Life is all about ups and downs, and that is what makes it worth living. Difficulties come and go, but the only thing that matters is to keep the fire in one’s heart burning and persevere. Because failures never mean defeat, and getting back into the game is never impossible.
The best example of this spirit is the Indian Paralympian contingent, which proved its mettle in the recent games. Defeating champions from all around the world and breaking records, these heroes have made the nation proud. Be it swimming or wrestling, or even weightlifting, there is nothing stopping these superheroes. But behind the shine of every medal is a story of incredible struggle and determination.
So here we are, sharing the struggle stories of a few of these Paralympians that will motivate you to push a bit harder every time you face a challenge…
1. Deepa Malik: The Definition Of “Indomitable”
This iron-willed lady has battled a spinal tumor that left her paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. But by winning a silver for shotput in the recent games and endless hearts in India, she has shown the world that giving up is not her thing. FYI she is also a swimmer, a motivational speaker and a biker! Watch her speaking about her journey here.
2. Suyash Jadhav: Courage Is A Frame Of Mind
Suyash, when six, got electrocuted by live wires at a construction site. As a result, both his arms had to be amputated. But he never lost hope. After years of practice and struggle, he made it to the recent games with an A-mark qualification.
3. Ankur Dhama: Unstoppable
Born in a small village in Uttar Pradesh, a four-year-old Dhama found out that he was losing his vision. But he didn’t give up even when he lost his sight completely and came to Delhi to complete his education, regardless. Ankur was the first blind athlete representing India in the recent games and left no stone unturned to bring glory to the nation.
4. Narender Ranbir: Passion Is The Key
Narender has represented India in the 2010 Asian Games and this year, in Paralympic games. He started with javelin throw as a form of physical therapy for his left leg and eventually took it forward to become one of the best para-athletes to represent India globally.
5. Rampal Chahar: In Pursuit Of A Dream
Chahar comes from a traditional farmer family in Haryana, and represents India in high jump. He lost his arm when it got caught in an agricultural chopper, resulting in partial amputation of his right arm. But he never gave up on his passion for sports. He trained and competed with other athletes and performed at many games, including the IPC Grand Prix (where he scored a Gold, by the way). No wonder he successfully qualified for the recent games with an A-grade!
6. Devendra Jhajharia: Going For Gold!
When he was eight, Jhajharia accidentally came in contact with an electric cable of 11,000 volts, resulting in the amputation of his left hand. But he didn’t let that hold him back. He won Gold for Javelin Throw in the recent games and broke his previous record. More power to you, Devendra! Know more about this athlete’s journey here.
7. Mariyappan Thangavelu: The Man Who Reached For The Sky
When he was just five, Mariyappan had an accident that left his right knee non-functional. But oh, the perseverance! In the recent games, he fetched Gold in the high jump finals with a phenomenal jump of 1.89m. Here’s a fact, this was the third gold by an Indian in the history of international games after swimmer Murlikant Petkar in 1972 and javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia in 2004!
On that note, here’s an inspiring video by IndusInd celebrating the laudable courage and grit of these incredible Paralympians.