Satyaprakash, braving odds

Satyaprakash, braving odds

Satyaprakash, braving odds

Satyaprakash has showed immense courage to overcome a crippling accident. DH photo / Srikanta Sharma R

It was on that day 27 years ago the Mumbaikar’s life changed for ever. “I was sixteen then and used to travel by local train to my college,” recalled Satyaprakash, a gold medal winner in badminton doubles at the IWAS Games in Bangalore. “I was returning home and it was raining heavily. As the train was slowly entering the station, I tried to get down but my legs got stuck between the train and the platform. The impact was so hard that my legs were totally crushed,” he said.

“I was immediately hospitalised. There the doctors amputated both my legs from just below the hip to save my life. I was shocked. I was still in my teens and lying in the bed helpless was the last thing on my mind. For three years I couldn’t sit. It was very painful. After years of physiotherapy I was able to sit properly and slowly the pain became less.” But life had more challenges in store for the 43-year-old.

“Five years after the accident I was married. Slowly I got to terms with the fateful incident. My friends and parents helped me to start a small stationery shop near my house. The small income from the shop helped us to lead a happy life. Then my wife gave birth to a son and a daughter. Things were falling in place once again,” said Satyaprakash. Then came another blow. His wife died during appendectomy in 1992.

“Losing my wife was shattering. My parents were getting old and my sisters had got married. My wife was the one who motivated me a lot. Apart from my own problems, I had to take care of two children. It was a very difficult period in my life.” The native of Ghatkopar found peace of mind when he met Raja Ram Ghag — the first specially-abled Indian to cross the English Channel in 1995 — who introduced him to sport for the disabled. “Joining sports was a huge relief. It was relief both physically and mentally. I started with athletics but it was very difficult for me. A year later, I changed over to badminton.”

“My son and daughter are in college now and they can at least take care of themselves,” said Satyaprakash, who started doing well on the badminton court as well. In 2004, he won the bronze in the Asian Paralympic Championship and two years later, he and Anjana Reddy finished third in the Asia-Pacific Games.

In Bangalore, Satyaprakash again joined hands with Anjana to bag the gold. “It’s a sweet experience to win a gold for the country,” Satyaprakash said. After all bitter experiences in life, success, certainly, must be sweeter for the champion.