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Every differently-abled person has potential - My Take by Satendra Singh

I was born in a small village in Bhind in Madhya Pradesh in 1987. A few weeks after birth, I got diarrhea and did not get proper medical attention because of which the nerves in my legs contracted and I was left with a 60% disability in both legs.

It was a major setback for my parents who had to struggle for two daily meals but somehow they made sure I had all the support and encouragement I needed.

I picked up a strong interest in swimming and started going regularly to the village pond for a swim. Others would make fun of me but I never let their words affect my morale. I used to swim everyday after school and one day I saved a young boy who was drowning. From then on, villagers started looking at me with respect and strongly encouraged me.

The turning point came when I met with Professor V K Dabas while doing my graduation and he pushed me towards Paralympic swimming. Under his tough guidance, I trained hard and participated in the first national-level Paralympic swimming event in 2009 where I won a bronze medal. From then on, my journey in swimming took off and today I am an international-level Paralympic swimmer. I recently took part in the Canada-America Paralympic Championship.

The best part is that I continued to study along with this as well and I am now posted at the Zilla Panchayat Office in Gwalior. I have made myself both financially secure and won fame for my country in the field of sports.

I feel that my story is an example of how every differently-abled person has a potential and can bring pride to the country. That is the essence of my existence.

About the Writer

Satendra Singh is a 31-year-old Paralympic swimmer. He is all set to become the first para-swimmer from Madhya Pradesh to swim the English Channel this year. He will leave India on 2 June. He has won 19 medals in domestic events and several other international awards in swimming.

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