Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The race isn't over for this amputee

If Johnnie Walker were to look for an apt brand ambassador for its inspiring “Keep Walking” ad campaign, then they need look no further than Ramesh Bhai Thakur in Jaipur. Despite an amputated left leg, Thakur has constantly pushed the realm of what a physically challenged person like him could achieve.

With several races and marathons already under his belt, he, using a Jaipur Foot, has just returned from a successful 32-kilometre trek up to Amarnath at a height of around 13,000 feet. But he did not tire there either. Now, Thakur is all set to enter the 2005 Limca Book of India Records (LBIR) as the fastest runner on a single artificial leg. He completes a 100-metre dash in little less than 19 seconds. An average human takes about 12 seconds to do that.

It was in 1982 that he fractured his leg in a train accident in Bharuch, where he was then based. The leg would not heal and the doctor insisted that it had to be amputated. “I was heartbroken and dejected,” said Thakur, who was in his late teens then. He moved to Jaipur to have a prosthetic limb fitted onto him. Luckily, he was employed by the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) when he managed to put a kaput sterilising machine back in order. Thakur had done a course from the Industrial Training Institute.

A technician with BMVSS now, he has earlier walked to Badrinath when he was part of a camp for fitting Jaipur Foot pieces in Rishikesh. “Then I thought why not Amarnath. If Shiva can call others, why not me,” he said. After a lot of negotiations, he managed to get a “fitness certificate” and set out for the arduous trek. “Often, I would leave my team members behind me. Some wanted to ride a horse but when they saw me, they would keep walking,” he added. Doctors at BMVSS claim that he is the first such case to have trekked up to Amarnath. “There was no pain or inconvenience,” he remarked.

Thakur has also been running regularly each morning at the SMS Stadium with a coach to train him. He has heard from the LBIR, acknowledging his extraordinary feat on the track. “Right now there is no entry in the category where my record stands at 19 seconds. Even if someone breaks it, I expect to improve on my performance and reduce the timing to 17 seconds by March in time for the 2005 edition,” Thakur said. But what is that does not let his spirits sag? “I want to show people like me that they are not inferior. I want to encourage them and support them,” he replied.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home