Para swimmer Satyendra Singh Lohiya holding the ‘tricolour’ with his teammate.
By Shaily Acharya :
International para swimmer Satyendra Singh Lohiya belonging to Gwalior district has brought laurels by setting first Asian record along with his teammates of Indian Para-Relay team in para-swimming in Open Water Swimming Championship held in United States of America recently. The team set a record by being the first in Asia to cross Catalina Channel in record time. The highly dedicated and enthusiast Divyang with 70% disability brought glory to the nation.
The swimmer originally hails from Gata village of district Bhind, participated in the championship along with five others in Indian Para-Relay team who crossed Catalina Channel by covering distance of 35 kilometre. The team took 11 hours 34 minutes in covering this distance, started from Santa Catalina Island on Sunday night 10:57 to Los Angeles via Rancho Palo Verdesh and ended on Monday 10:30 am. This is not the first time Satyendra has shot to fame, last year, along with his teammates including Jagdish Chandra Teli from Rajasthan, Chetan Raut from Maharashtra, Rimo Shah from West Bengal, he crossed the English Channel too. This time, adding two more members Geeta Chaudhary from Maharashtra and Anjani Patel from Chhattisgarh in the team, all six of them achieved this feat under the guidance of their coach Rohan More and Virendra Kumar Dabas.
Expressing his bliss over his achievement and sharing about his journey he told ‘The Hitavada’ that “I am feeling on the top of the world by making my country feel proud. Nothing is impossible in this world if you have will power and self-confidence. Catalina Channel is the toughest in the USA and is also part of Ocean Seven Swimming Challenge. This challenge is considered to be the most adventurous in open water swimming. Overcoming this challenge, the Indian Para-Relay Team wants to convey that ‘Disability is not physically, it is only the bad attitude of a person.” The gold medalist of International Paralympics Swimming 2017 recalling his childhood days said, “I was born as a normal child in a small village of Bhind district (MP).
Unfortunately, after a fortnight of my birth, I suffered with severe diarrhoea and unable to get proper medical treatment, nerves of both my legs contracted and I developed 60% per cent permanent disability in both the legs. My disability brought a new challenge for me as well as my family and it was then we shifted to Gwalior. I developed a keen interest for swimming during my schooling. I learnt swimming in a local river and practiced for several hours. Gradually, swimming becomes a part of my routine life. Despite being discouraged by villagers, my dedication and determination for swimming got intense and I decided to find opportunities in swimming along with studies. After I emerged as a good swimmer, I saved life of a 12-year-old child from being drowned and people started supporting me.
The turning point of life came when my Professor Dr V K Dabas (HoD) Swimming Department, Laxmibai National Institute Education Physical (Gwalior), trained me for national-level paralympic swimming and I bagged my first bronze medal in this championship at Kolkata in the year 2009.” Notably, Satyendra who is blessed with special skill and talent is a recipient of Vikram Award (2014), Major Dhyanchand Award (2015) and has bagged total 24 medals, including four gold medals, at international and national swimming championships. He follows the footstep of USA swimmer Michael Fred Phelps. He believes “Faith and self-confidence are my biggest strengths. Being a Divyang, I have faced criticism from society many times but the strength never let me down. There is much talent in Divyangs but they do not get better platform to showcase their talents. Thus, I have decided to help Divyang talent and provide them a platform by opening an academy in near future.” “I would like to give credit of my success to Madhya Pradesh State Government along would like to personally thank IAS officer P Narhari as during his posting as Collector of Gwalior he not only supported me financially but also encouraged me.”