Accident doesn't deter athlete's spirit

Accident doesn't deter athlete's spirit

Garima Joshi, an athelete from Uttarakhand who met with an accident near Udupi.

Once a medal-winning athlete, Garima Joshi is now confined to bed.

The champion, however, has found a way to give wings to her dreams. "So what if I can't run, I will start preparing for wheelchair games. I will participate in the Paralympics," says Garima, who is currently recovering in Bengaluru after a month-long treatment at Manipal Hospitals. 

The 20-year-old from Uttarakhand was in Udupi in May 2018 to participate in a marathon when she met with an accident. Riding pillion on a two-wheeler, she was hit by a speeding car. Garima sustained severe injuries to both her legs, leaving her confined to bed.

Doctors have advised her not to participate in any running event for at least five years. That has not killed Garima's spirit. "I will start practising once the physiotherapy is over. I will start walking in three years now and am hopeful to be back on the tracks soon," she beams.

A first year BA student, Garima is now living in Bengaluru with her friend. She says she will continue studies with guidance from her university teachers or seek a transfer.

She is being trained by Honey Singh, another athlete in Bengaluru. "I don't have a formal coach. All the medals that I won in the past are either with the guidance of other athletes or on my own merits," she says.

Until recently, Garima's family had to run from pillar to post to find donors for her treatment, the bills of which amounted to over Rs 12 lakh. Last week, the Uttarakhand government promised to foot her hospital bills.

Garima's father works as a driver in Uttarakhand, and her mother is a homemaker. Grappling with severe financial constraints, the family had to seek the help of human rights activist Guruvinder Singh Chada to draw the attention of the government. And the message that was posted by Chada on social media helped.

"My mother is a cancer survivor who had her leg amputated recently. Hence, they were unable to come here to visit me. I will be able to go back only after two years after my treatment is complete," she says.