As London 2012 draws nearer, the heartbeats of more than a billion Indians will throb with immense hope and pride, and nervous energy as well. For at stake will be a chance to carve our name and establish our nation's sporting excellence at the biggest and the most prestigious sporting spectacle - The OLYMPICS. Our heroes who will be representing the nation at the OLYMPICS will carry with them our prayers and wishes, as they compete for the country's glory and global recognition.
Jagseer Singh - a proud ONGCian and an 'PARALYMPIAN'... receiving the Arjuna Award from Her Excellency The President of India The prelude to this feature series enlightened readers about ONGC and its enduring connection with Sports, facts about "The OLYMPICS" and Indians at OLYMPICS. With potentially as many as 15 ONGCians being a part of the Indian contingent, we thought it worth everyone's while that we bring to you the profiles of our 'own' sportspersons so that by the time the OLYMPICS are here, each one of us know a little bit more of our sporting heroes.
However what can be termed as a minor digression but also which is a response to an equally significant facet of not just sporting excellence but also the human spirit, the thirteenth piece of this series profiles three ONGCians who are representing the nation at the PARALYMPICS, major international multi-sport event where athletes with a physical disability compete and are run in parallel to the OLYMPICS. They are Jagseer Singh (Long Jump), Amit Kumar Saroha (Discus Throw) and Sachin Chaudhury (Power Lifting).
Jagseer Singh, a Paralympics athlete from Hanumangarh, Rajasthan was born on July 17, 1987. Though he had severe financial as well as physical difficulties, his family stood behind him and did not stop Jagseer from working hard and win as many as 17 gold medals at both national and international level competitions. He was conferred with Arjuna Award by the President of India for his outstanding contribution in the field of Paralympics sports in the country in 2010.
He took part in Beijing Paralympics 2008 and finished seventh. He won the long jump and triple jump gold in the IWAS World Games (2009) and Gold & Silver medal in 16th Para Asian Games held at Guangzhou (China) in November 2010.
He has dominated his event for past 4 years. Jagseer has almost won every competition at home.
"I lost my right hand as a child after I suffered an electric shock. This incident changed my life completely. I was barefoot and only had one T- shirt when I got into the sport. I never knew that my disability will become my ability. I saw a news report of a para-athlete from our village and that inspired me to do something big. Then I joined my village's sport centre and from thereon I never looked back", inspiring words of a person who has surmounted huge odds to be where he is at today.
"I am very happy that I have qualified for the Olympic Games in London 2012 and I am hopeful that my chances of winning gold there are very high", Jagseer remarked on his chances at the forthcoming games.
Commenting on his association with ONGC through scholarship and how the organization has been helping him in fulfilling his dreams, he said "ONGC came at the right time when I needed a little push... I will prove my capability to the country and my organisation that has been there for last 4 years lifting my spirits."
Amit Kumar Saroha - a proud ONGCian and an 'PARALYMPIAN' Shortly after a speeding truck hit his car, Amit Kumar Saroharemembers lying under the night sky among the injured. "At least I'm alive," he thought, waiting for his brother to rescue him, "the doctors will take care of the rest". Saroha was still immobile a week later when doctors at Sonepat's Indian Spinal Injuries Centre told his family that he had no sensation in his legs and there was nothing more they could do for him. It took Saroha six months just to be able to use a wheelchair. The accident that didn't kill him, made him stronger. Five years later, Saroha has thrown a one kilogram discus far enough to win two international and six national gold medals. Currently ranked No. 2 in his discipline, he looks back on those days of recovery and says, "I did not feel grateful at having survived. I did not feel lucky".
In the months of physiotherapy that followed, Saroha was forced to adjust to life as a dependant. His father died soon after he saw his son lose his legs, and his brother gave up his job to care for Saroha and their mother. The trauma of the accident, combined with guilt that he was to blame for his family's troubles, nearly drove Saroha into depression.
At his lowest ebb he met Jonathan Sigworth, an American Wheelchair Rugby player on a tour of India to promote Parasports. Wheelchair rugby gave Saroha, a former state level hockey player, a way to keep busy. Sigworth, who had also lost his mobility in an accident, saw potential in his new recruit. Saroha soon accompanied Sigworth to Wheelchair Rugby demonstrations in the state of Gujarat, Punjab and Karnataka.
The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games 2009 became part of a series of firsts for Saroha. Playing in a demonstration match of Wheelchair Rugby with a Brazilian team, Saroha met several Para-athletes from across the world. It was also his first encounter with the Paralympic Committee of India that was then beginning to scout schools and colleges for para-athletes.
In 2009, Saroha decided to abandon wheelchair rugby for individual athletic events that relied on his newly developed upper body strength - Throwball (officially called Boccio) and Discus (his event in the London Paralympics).
Saroha who is being given all the assistance by ONGC for brushing up his skills is on Scholarship. Earlier, he Won Gold medal in Olympic qualifier events at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and established Asian record. He also got third place in world ranking.
Sachin Chaudhury comes from a farmer family based in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. He was born on September 30, 1983.
Sachin Chaudhury - a proud ONGCian and an 'PARALYMPIAN' A Para -Athlete possessing strong will power was struck by polio when he was just 7 months old. He was always the best in what he did. He opted for power lifting and never looked back since then. His recent performances include, gold in National championships held in Bangaluru in January 2012 and also gold medal in Asian power lifting Championship. He is the rising star and is a medal hopeful in Power Lifting.
Due to his consistent performance in the last 2-3 years, Sachin won him Olympic Quota place facing tough competition. Like other two Paralympians, Sachin was also picked up by ONGC considering his potential in the individual game and provided with sports scholarship.
OR.net on behalf of every ONGCians wishes Jagseer Singh, Amit Kumar Saroha and Sachin Chaudhury the very best of luck as they embark on their journey to help India get its rightful pride of place in the legion of Paralympians.
Go, give your best... you already have made us proud. Remember 33,000 ONGCians and more than a billion Indians are rooting for you.
Corporate Sports Division