India’s first blade runner and Kargil War veteran, Major Devendar Pal Singh believes in empowering others and inspiring them to overcome disability
Kargil war veteran and India’s first blade runner, Major Devender Pal Singh, says that rather than winning laurels for himself, he chose to empower those who aspired to win medals.
The 44-year-old said he wished to participate in the paralympics but then realised he was meant for a higher purpose.
“Yes, I do wish to play in the Paralympics and I am certain that any challenged person would have this dream. In fact, I had tried to participate but soon realised that I am meant for a higher purpose,” Singh told IANS.
“I chose to empower those who were dedicated towards winning medals, rather than winning myself.
“I have also started my own NGO, The Challenging Ones (TCO). Till date, TCO has been able to boost the confidence of over 400 amputees out of the family of 1,400 members and the number of members are growing every day. We aspire to inspire many more Divyangs, who would in turn win many more medals for India,” he added.
On July 15, 1999 during the Kargil war, Singh was injured when a mortar shell landed 1.5 metres from where he was, causing major multiple injuries. In the hospital, doctors initially declared him dead but then managed to save him after amputing his leg. Despite this, Singh gradually started running using a prosthetic limb. He has taken part in 18 marathons so far. Singh is also associated with the second edition of ‘SwachhAbility Run’ with JK Cement, starting from November 5. The five-day long event will be flagged off by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar from Panaji and will pass through Belgavi, Hubli, Mangalore and Bengaluru aimed at inclusion of people with disabilities while promoting the government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Clean India campaign.
Speaking about the event, Singh said: “As marathons are organised largely in metros we were not able to progress further, beyond these cities. I wanted to take the lead and organise such events. I discussed it with Col. Rajnish Kapur, who heads Grey Cement business at JK Cement Ltd. He liked the idea and discussed it with Raghavpat Singhania (Special Executive, JK Cement), who was gracious enough to support it.”.
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