SPORTS, FITNESS & DANCE

Dare to be different: living boldly with Polio

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CHETAN JAJANI

Living Boldly with Polio in my lower limbs

I'm Chetan Jajani from Bhuj, Gujarat in India. I started walking at the age of one when Polio hit my lower limbs. Since I was from a rural area, there wasn't any source of education for me, so my parents sent me to an integrated educational institution where I completed my schooling. My educational institution was so helpful to me. I never felt my disability was a hindrance. The environment was so accessible and I was always an excellent student.

how i deal with life mentally and physically

Since then I've participated in cultural and sporting events and won medals in cycling (tricycle). I was good at drawing and 'Rangoli', my name was always called out at the time of prize distribution! After school, I had to leave the institution for further studies. So, I came to the city. It was a completely new atmosphere for me. I had to tackle all the odds I was facing in daily traveling and negligence due to disability in daily life. However, I decided to never give up. I consciously worked on overcoming my weaknesses and started training my mind, which increased my willpower. I started participating since 2013 in athletic games "Khel Maha kumbh" organized by Gujarat government every year and won certificates and medals from my Kutch District and twice from state level in Shot-Put and cycling. In 2016 I came to know, that there's para powerlifting for people with disabilities. (Until then I was unaware of Paralympics). Training in the gym was a turning point in my life. (I would have never ever thought of joining a gym if powerlifting wasn't there). Initially I was hesitating and doubting myself, if I would be able to cope with all the other” normal” people in gym. I would have to crawl in between them, since I couldn’t walk! But after I started training, I gained my confidence back. It wasn’t just about training in gym, I trained myself to the level where I could deal with everything in life mentally and physically.

"DARE TO BE DIFFERENT AND THE WORLD IS ALL YOURS"

I won my first ever silver medal in para powerlifting in Gujarat state level held in Ahmedabad in 2016. It was a precious moment for me. First time ever, I felt like I had achieved something with my hard work and dedication. I was appreciated and applauded! It boosted my confidence to a new level. In March 2018 at Delhi, I participated in National Para Powerlifting games and though I didn't earn any medals, it was a big achievement for me that I reached the national level. It was a great experience! I've now learned to travel alone using my wheelchair. I used to be very shy, but now I open up to people and talk easily. The harder I train every day, the more trust I gain in myself. When I hear people are inspired by me, I feel more positive about reaching my goals. I currently live daringly, boldly, fearlessly and strive to put forth the best within me. My life's message to people is "DARE TO BE DIFFERENT AND THE WORLD IS ALL YOURS."

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