This wheelchair-bound weightlifter inspires many (Dec 3 is World Disability Day)December 3rd, 2010 - 2:45 pm ICT by IANS
By Rahul Vaishnavi
New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Polio bound him to a wheelchair and he faced ridicule the first time he visited a gym. But Joginder Singh Saluja fought the odds to become a weightlifter who is an inspiration for thousands of disabled people.
The 24-year-old, who contracted polio when he was just 10 months old, will receive the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities from President Pratibha Patil Friday - World Disability Day - under the ‘Role Model’ category.
“It’s like a dream come true for me. I am getting this award because of the work I have done for the physically-disabled in the past six years. My hard work has been rewarded,” an elated Saluja told IANS.
Instituted in 1969, the awards are sponsored by the social justice and empowerment ministry to empower the disabled every year. A total of 63 awards will be presented this year under 13 different categories.
“This award is very special for me. I am the youngest person ever to receive it. I’ve been working in tandem with the Delhi University authorities to counsel the numerous disabled students who come to the varsity from all corners of the country every year,” Saluja said.
He said he has been assisting them in their admission process and selection of college every year for the last six years.
“I have been constantly advising the University Grants Commission (UGC) on how to make Delhi University more and more disabled friendly. And there has been a sea change in the last six years in the varsity,” said a proud Saluja.
Saluja said he had participated in many events organised by the Paralympic Committee of India and won numerous gold and silver medals in weightlifting.
“I am a national level weightlifter and have won the Mr. India title in bodybuilding and power-lifting several times,” he said.
An alumnus of Khalsa College, he graduated in arts stream in 2008 and is the youngest of four siblings. He owns his own gym, Workout Wonders, in east Delhi.
“Differently-abled people - from students to senior citizens - can work out for free in my gym while others have to pay a monthly fee of Rs.1,600,” Saluja said.
His father who inspired and motivated him the most is also suffering from locomotors disability as a result of an accident that took place years ago.
“My family has been my driving force all along. My father truly encouraged me to reach where I am today,” Saluja said.
- Steroids can kill: Dark side of body building (Health Feature) - Jul 13, 2012
- President Patil to give away national awards for disabled persons - Dec 02, 2010
- Two handicapped Mumbaikars for London Paraolympics (With Images) - Dec 23, 2011
- Two handicapped Mumbaikars for London Paraolympics (Lead, superseding earlier story) (With Images) - Dec 23, 2011
- Farman lashes out against India's paralympic committee - Sep 06, 2012
- Indian Olympic athletes appeal to root out polio - Aug 02, 2012
- Overlooked for Arjuna, lifter Renubala returns CWG gold - Jul 25, 2011
- In Uttar Pradesh bylanes, children help fight polio - Feb 03, 2011
- Olympic weightlifting: Podobedova lifts Kazakhstan to gold - Aug 04, 2012
- Big B wants polio-free nation, happy no polio case in 2011 - Dec 15, 2011
- Big B to be honoured for polio work - Apr 06, 2012
- Olympic weightlifting: China's Lin Qinfeng lifts 69-kg gold - Aug 01, 2012
- Padma awards late for Priyadarsan, Mira, Shabana, Dharmendra? - Jan 27, 2012
- Beti B gets her polio drops in Big B's presence - Apr 19, 2012
- President confers Narang with Khel Ratna, Arjuna for 19 athletes - Aug 29, 2011
Tags: alumnus, delhi university, disabled people, disabled students, gold and silver, joginder, joginder singh, model category, mr india, paralympic committee, persons with disabilities, president pratibha patil, saluja, sea change, silver medals, university authorities, university grants commission, vaishnavi, weightlifter, weightlifting