Chandeep Singh Sudan was an 11-year-old when he suffered a life-threatening electric shock measuring approximately 11,000 volts.
Surviving the high-voltage shock was in itself a miracle, but the damage it did to his body was devastating. Chandeep suffered fourth-degree burns, and the subsequent infection forced the doctors to amputate both his arms.
“I remember once after his second amputation, my son asked me to tell the doctors to loosen the bandages on his fingers. Even then, he could feel his fingers and didn’t know that his arms had been amputated,” his father told Ken Folios.
What made the entire situation particularly hard was that Chandeep was on course for sporting success in football, athletics and even skating.
Speaking to Student Stories, Chandeep says, “This was a big incident for me and had a huge impact on my mind. I cried a lot when I came to know that I have lost my arms. My family used to tell me that I should not think about what has happened in the past rather I must focus on what I am going to do now with it. They said ‘we are always with you, no matter what happens, don’t look back and keep going.’ They gave me the freedom of doing whatever I wanted to do and supported me in everything. My friends supported me which I wasn’t expecting. [They] never made me feel that I [had] lost something.”
When all hope seemed lost, the boy from Jammu decided to fight back. With extraordinary perseverance and inhuman zeal, he turned his life around, starting with skating. Today, he is a national level skater, and holds the world record for fastest 100-meters para skating (13.95s). He has also been selected as one of the ‘Six Heroes of India’ by India Today and been felicitated with the “Pehal Youth Proud Award” on Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s Birthday, among other achievements.
“My inspiration were my family and friends. I used to think ‘they are doing so much for me and I must do something in return so that they feel proud.’ It was then when I decided to do something. I was checking what I could do, and I came across the sport know as skating. People used to say that in skating you need to have balance and you cannot balance without your arms. I took it as a challenge. To prove them wrong and to make others proud I started skating,” he said.
His initial attempts at skating were extremely challenging since athletes need their arms to balance themselves. However, giving up was never part of the plan. Eventually, all his hard work paid off, practising with able-bodied national skaters. “Initially I kept falling a lot because I didn’t have my arms to keep the balance. But, after falling countless number of times, I finally managed it,” he said.
Not content with his already long list of achievements, Chandeep took up Taekwondo. His prowess in this form of martial art was such that earlier this year he won two gold medals for India in the Kimunyong Cup Taekwondo Championship in South Korea. Before South Korea, he won gold medals in Asian Taekwondo Championship at Vietnam, and International Taekwondo Championship at Nepal reports NDTV.
Further motivation for Chandeep came from the legendary Indian sprinter Milkha Singh. “I want to say that Chandeep is making his country proud, others should also emulate and perform similar feats, when Chandeep came to my home, I saw that he [was] working his laptop and mobile with feet, he doesn’t have hands, I was really moved,” said Milkha Singh, speaking to Ken Folios.
Chandeep’s story is indeed inspiring for anyone battling adversity.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)