'I have achieved the impossible'

It’s an amazing feeling that cannot be expressed in words when you are standing on the highest peak of the world. I was shouting at the top of my voice, wanting to tell the world that I am not a ‘bechari’, that I have achieved the impossible,” says Arunima Sinha, first female amputee from anywhere in the world to climb Mount Everest.

The 26-year-old national level volleyball player who lost her leg in April 2011 when chain snatchers threw her from a train says, “it was not a conscious decision to create a record but to prove that there is no end to the world if one has grit and determination to fulfil their passion.”

It was this belief that made Arunima undergo rigorous training for more than a year before the final climb. “My training started in March last year in Uttarkashi. At that time I was not able to take a single step on the mountains. Other people in the group used to climb peaks easily and I was the only one who used to take a lot of time. Many a time, I used to cry that I won’t be able to achieve my goal,” says Arunima. “But despite all this I never lost my confidence,” she says with a zeal in her voice.

“I climbed peaks during my training session and what boosted my confidence was when people asked me what I used to eat,” she says with a smile. However, things were not the same when she started her journey to reach the summit of Everest. While returning back her prosthetic limb was slipped twice. “The gel that connects the prosthetic limb to the skin was displaced when I was coming down. At that time I could not take out my gloves because of frost bite. Somehow I managed to reach the rocky surface and when I tried to arrange it was blood and blisters. At the same time I had only one oxygen cylinder so everything had to be done fast,” reminisces Arunima.

She chose this pain and trouble to prove that she is not less than any other individual despite her handicap. “When I was recuperating post my injury, people use to say ‘bechari ka jeevan kaise katega’ (How will the helpless girl live now?). I was shattered then and decided to choose the toughest game of life,” says Arunima, who did not opt for paralympics and instead decided to go for mountaineering. 

“When I read about the three toughest routes to Mt. Everest in newspapers, I got a vision and a goal,” she says. Arunima contacted the first Indian woman mountaineer Bachendri Pal and assistance from Tata Steel Adventure Foundation.

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh too influenced her decision. “Yuvraj was suffering from internal problem and overcame it. I asked my self, why I can’t do the same thing?” says the record holder, who spoke and met Yuvraj after getting discharged from hospital.

Believing in taking and giving inspiration, Arunima is all set to start a sports academy for the handicapped. “Land has been allocated in Unnao. Very soon, construction will begin where poor and handicapped kids will get an opportunity to fulfil their dreams,” says Arunima.

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