TomorrowMakers ™

Girish Sharma: The torch bearer for differently abled sportspersons in India

26 April 2017
Girish Sharma success
After representing India in Badminton on an international stage, Girish Sharma now hopes to change the fate of other disabled sportspersons.
 

Someone once said that ‘if you are armed with courage, there is nothing that can stop you.’ Girish Sharma is one of those people who seems to be living life by the adage. At the tender age of two, he lost his right leg in a train accident. While many others would have been weighed down by the bleakness of his situation, Girish’s courage and resilience remained. As he grew older, he realised that he could either let destiny dictate his life, or he could take control of the situation and turn things around. He chose to do the latter.

Girish had always wanted to serve in the Indian army, and make his country proud. Unfortunately, his dream had become rather unreachable, considering his disability. But that didn’t stop him from pursuing his goal. He simply found another way to achieve it.

The bold and the badminton

Right from the time he was a young boy, Girish loved outdoor sports and had always been athletic. During a visit to a sports club with his brother – a football player - Girish fell in love with Badminton. When he was 16 years old, he decided that he wanted to play the sport professionally. He then underwent basic training for a year, after which he learned of the handicap national games. Since then, he has not only competed but has also represented India at various international platforms and brought home several medals.

Related: Yoddhas: Rahul Yadhav’s tale of acceptance, survival and creating a community to overcome cancer

How support makes a huge difference

While his achievements are, without a doubt, impressive, his journey has been long, hard and often devoid of help. Girish is one of the many, many sportspersons in the country that has little to no support – both financial or otherwise – from the government. He recounts various instances wherein he had to fund his own trips to various tournaments. Sometimes through friends, and sometimes through family- aid only came from his near and dear ones.

Having competed at international levels, he witnessed first-hand the treatment and aid provided to his foreign counterparts. What Girish greatly admires is the system that has been put in place for disabled sportsmen in other countries. He has realised that people look up to them, and they are offered the same opportunities as fully abled sportsmen. However, this is not the same case when it comes to our country.

Overcoming the roadblocks

 

Girish’s badminton career has come with many challenges. Chief among them has been the lack of financial support. So how has he managed to not only remain determined but also achieve all that he has? His answer is modest and simple; he is stubborn and does not like being told what he can or cannot do. Each time that someone expressed even the slightest doubt regarding his performance, he was fueled to prove them wrong. So, as more people questioned his choices and abilities, his faith and determination only grew stronger.

Girish also credits a huge part of his success and resolve to his family. Their unwavering belief in his ability and talent is what he says, has brought him this far. From the very beginning, he knew that he could count on them, regardless of his choices, and this has helped him become his unstoppable self.

Related: Lightening up lives: How Varsha emerged from her blindness to became a volunteer for change

Making a difference

Girish’s goal won’t stop at just winning medals for his country. He now wants to reform the state of affairs when it comes to sports funding, especially for physically challenged athletes. To this end, he plans to introduce a disabled sports quota, so that physically challenged sportsmen, representing the country, get the necessary help they need and are given access to opportunities that could improve their lives.

Here’s hoping that this brave and resolved badminton player can pave a path for all the disabled sportsmen in the country and inspire others around him.

 
 
 
 

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