“In dreams the truth is learned that all good works are done in the absence of a caress.”
Greatness doesn’t depend on your ability or dis-ability, it has to be fought for, strived for and ultimately earned from that weird thing called reality. And no-one could state this better than the poet of the in-betweens, Leonard Cohen. Individuals with disabilities have every chance to embrace the bliss of perfection and do things never thought of before just like the rest. Still finding great doubt in believing this? Here are the stories of 5 great titans of sport, who achieved the heights of greatness despite being disabled.
1. Malathi Krishnamurthy Holla- The smiling diva with 300 medals
Are you one of those who always goes into fits of gloomy doom, whenever you look at our medals tally during every Olympics? Then the accolades of this Paralympian from Bangalore would definitely cheer you up. This international para-athlete didn’t let polio define her. With her ‘can do’ spirit she gobbled up for herself more than 389 gold medals at all levels of her discipline. Atta-girl !!!
2. Melissa Stockwell- The ever graceful Champion.
If adversity breeds success then this inspiring diva and para-triathlete from Michigan US is a fine example of this. Melissa Stockwell lost a limb for her nation but her hungry spirit and raw determination meant that she was soon competing in Paralympics as a swimmer and after finding swimming way too dull, she shifted to para-triathlons, going on to become a legend in her discipline. An epitome of courage, positivity and passion, this purple heart winner and 3-time consecutive world champion shows us that wherever there is a will there is always a way.
3. Sharath Gayakwad – The swimmer is always hungry for medals- claps or no claps
While most 24-year-olds think about competitive exams and Instagram-statuses, this 24-year-old youngster from Bengaluru is so much obsessed with winning laurels for his country that he has already left the legendary P.T Usha far out in the record books. Sharath discovered the joys of swimming while at school and soon realized that this was the thing that he was born to do and since there has been no turning back. Sharath lets his achievements speak for himself today, with an impressive haul of 30 international medals including 6 medals at the 2015 para Asian Games at Incheon, South Korea, where he broke PT Usha’s long-standing record of 5 medals with a finesse that was quite breathtaking. Here are all the kudos to our very own Desi Michael Phelps !!
4. Anthony Robles – The one -legged fighter with a disarming smile
For some, challenges matter not just for the glories but also for the rush and an infinite sense of satisfied accomplishment and Anthony Robles is one such individual. Born with one leg due to an unknown medical condition, Anthony refused to go prosthetic, became the youngest NCAA amateur wrestling champ and then gave it all up quite happily to become a motivational speaker. That’s one hell of a way to chart your life. And what’s his guiding philosophy? An Intense love of life and fun. Hat’s off to him for being the player always.
5. Devendra Jhajharia- The Discuss Thrower who shattered his own world record in style
This Guy from Rajasthan, India, has done things that most ‘abled’ athletes from India have n’t been able to do over the past 70 years of our independence. He won his Gold at Rio In Javelin by breaking his own world record and what makes it even sweeter is the earth smashing way in which he did it. He is a 2-time paralympic gold medalist who doesn’t throw celebrity tantrums for a change (So refreshing) and has a humility that could disarm even the biggest of cynics.Three cheers to this guy for becoming the torchbearer for Indian sports and proving that what matters sometimes is an indomitable spirit ever hungry for success than just a mere pair of hands.
All these athletes and sports superstars prove that victory has no relation with your ability or dis-ability. What matters more is that hunger to do the unthinkable and achieve the impossible. So go out and gift reality to your dreams today. And also inspire the ‘Differently abled’ in our nation to break more world records and perceptions by clicking here and support the efforts of SOS children’s village in empowering them to achieve a million possibilities.