Paralysis used to be like a life sentence for many people. Given how most institutions and organizations don’t really cater to those suffering from physical disabilities, there’s no why wonder most of them preferred to stay away from sports.
However, in recent years things are changing. Thanks to advancements in prosthetics and technology. From baseball player James Abbott to the now infamous Oscar Pistorius to India’s first female amputee to climb Mt Everest, Arunima Sinha, para-athletes have been breaking records and taking the world in their steady stride. Here we have the story of braveheart Ekta Bhyan who won a bronze and gold in discus and club throw respectively at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Tunisia in the yearA Para-Athlete At 30 2018.
An Accident That Changed The Course Of Her Life
As a child, Ekta aspired to become a doctor. Unfortunately, on the first day of her journey to pursue her studies at a medical coaching institute in Delhi, her vehicle met with an accident. According to Ekta, her car’s tire got punctured, and the driver had gotten out to fix it. However, an overcrowded vegetable truck flipped over and pinned down her vehicle, killing five of the six other girls she was with on the spot and leaving Ekta with life-threatening injuries to her spinal cord. She was left paralyzed below her shoulders.
She underwent three surgeries in a span of nine months and had to learn simple tasks like sitting, after which she was discharged. For Ekta, returning to her old life held a flurry of challenges, but she believed her time at the hospital had prepared her to take on any obstacles that came her way in the future.
Going Back To School
With the love and encouragement of her incredibly supportive parents, a dauntless Ekta decided to complete her education and get her Bachelor’s degree. Pursuing a BA in English Honors from a government college in Hisar, she graduated at the top of her class. This further pushed her to get a job and become independent. She pursued her education further, earning a Master’s degree in the subject as well as another Bachelor’s degree in Education.
Between the years of 2008 and 2013, Ekta worked as an auditor at the Food and Supplies Department of Haryana. Despite having a hectic job, Ekta also spent time preparing for state civil services exams. She didn’t let a failed first attempt deter her from studying further and cleared her Haryana Civil Services (HCS) in the year 2013.
Her First Foray Into The World Of Sports
Her journey into the world of sports, however, turned out to be a good fluke and a stroke of luck. After being interviewed by a popular newspaper for her academic achievements, her interview was circulated on WhatsApp. The interview caught the attention of famed Arjun awardee and Paralympian athlete Amit Kumar Saroha who gave Ekta a call and asked her if she was interested in taking up sports. She believes Saroha also played a considerable role in increasing her confidence. And that before meeting him, she could never have imagined a life in sports.
During this journey too, she received the unconditional support of her family and loved ones who kept pushing her to embrace new challenges. After training intensely and rigorously for three years in club and discus throwing, Ekta struck gold and bronze at the National Games. This was followed by International fame after winning a silver in club throw at Grand Prix in Berlin and then in 2018 another gold and bronze in Grand Prix, Tunisia. She plans on competing in the Paralympics very soon.
Her international ranking in club throwing is 6th while she stands at 5th position in discus throwing. She’s already hit the number one spot in all of Asia for both discus and club. According to her, it’s not about the wins, but about the hard work, dedication, and determination that goes into winning those medals. She advises other young women who aspire to enter the field of sports to train regularly and give it their all. Ekta herself trains for 3 hours after work every day. Over the weekend she takes time out to travel to Sonipat to train under her coach.
In October 2018, Ekta struck gold and created history once again by winning a gold medal in the Para Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. She is the second woman to have won a gold medal from India. She dedicated this award to her loving parents for backing her up and providing unconditional support all these years.
Her story is truly a tale of inspiration for so many people out there and proves that with hard work and dedication, one can achieve whatever goals they set out to achieve. So what did you think of Ekta’s story? Do you want to give your favorite sport the old college try again?
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