From Wheelchair To Vanity Van: The Star-Struck Journey Of A “Crippled” Wrestler

Posted on July 25, 2012 in Sports

By: Abhishyant Kidangoor:

Sangram Singh, the wrestler who made India proud by winning the gold medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games has been offered a role in a movie. What makes this movie special for Singh is that it is based on his own story and that he stars as himself, along with his girlfriend Payal Rastogi. Now that’s something even the greatest of actors could only dream of!

Sangram Singh, born as Sanjit Kumar gained nationwide attention when he won the gold medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games held in South Africa. Prior to his win, he was also part of the list of top ten wrestlers in the world in the Senior World Wrestling Championship in Hungary. However to reach this spectacular position, this man braved a lot of odds and managed to overcome a ton of hurdles. India, as always having an ardent fan following of cricket, fails to recognize those unsung heroes who excel in other sports. Here is the story of a champion who set his heart and soul on what he dreamt of and made the impossible happen.

Hailing from the rustic village of Madina in the state of Haryana, Singh was born a premature baby to a government servant dad and a housewife mom. He was weaker compared to other children of his age and weighed a mere 210 grams when born. The family had its mind blown off, when they were informed that their three year old child was diagnosed with arthritis. The disease crippled him for eight years. With the aid of a wheel chair, Singh used to observe wrestlers practise and dreamt of becoming one.

Consulting AIIMS Delhi, gave the family little hope for the complete recovery of Sangram. But this did not preclude the little one from dreaming, who was ridiculed upon by others for doing so. While observing the matches and practice sessions, he found a mentor in someone whom he refers to as Panditji. This man encouraged him to try moving his immobile limbs and also clamoured him to exercise regularly. In a matter of six months, Singh was able to stand up on his own. However owing to his disease, he had very fragile bones which would get fractured by exerting small forces. Resisting all odds with sheer determination and support from his mentor, Singh managed to gain a weight of 96 kgs in a few years. Being more confident about himself, he moved to Delhi where he launched himself as a wrestler.

His win in the Commonwealth Games is just a highlight in his wondrous list of achievements. His passion and determination led his way to the television and finally the glitzy world of cinema. His first film ‘Valentine’s Night’ was released in February this year. And now, he is all set to star in his own biopic. In spite of all his achievements, Singh continues to be a simple, humble and modest person who sticks to his regime of workout and diet. He loves his country more than anything and takes pride in talking in Hindi, in spite of being comfortable in English.

No starry airs nor any tantrums! This man just considers himself as a regular sportsperson, who wants wrestling to be given due importance in India. He is just one among the many scores of sportsmen who fought their way to success. Lance Armstrong and Yuvraj Singh are the famous ones in the list.

Gearing up for the filming of his biopic, we could be nothing but be awestruck and amazed by the strenuous and commendable journey of this determined and focussed man. Hats off to Sangram Singh!

Youth Ki Awaaz

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