Mumbaikar Mohammad Shams Aalam Shaikh was leading a charmed life just six years ago. A trained karate instructor, he would have never guessed a tumour in his spine would one day render his lower body completely paralysed.
But instead of letting the tragedy derail him, he not only took up swimming but recently set a record for having completed the longest open-sea swimming by a paraplegic by covering an impressive 8km in a span of four hours and four minutes. He swam in the open seas of Goa.
Having completed this feat, he will now be applying to the Guinness World Records to officially take his place in history. He will also be applying for the Limca Book of World Records and the Asian Book of Records.
Incidentally, he held the previous record too and thus has essentially beaten himself to the top slot.
Image for representation. Photo source: Pexels
It was in 2012 when he was assessed with 100% disability. This not only meant that he could not walk, but he would also have no control over bodily functions like passing urine. That’s when he took up swimming. Because of the sport, he was able to control his functions and can now pass urine without the use of a catheter. Today, he has 72% disability.
Mohammad notes that the government ought to provide more support to those who live with disabilities. Speaking to Times of India, he says, “People with disabilities should motivate themselves to come out of their homes, but for this we need the government’s support to make spaces, buildings and transportation accessible.”
And while he already has a record in his kitty, Mohammad is already looking to the future and the kind of laurels he can bring India. Next up is the 2018 Asian Games and then, eventually the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.