Monday, November 28, 2011

Hail the spirit of Major Devender Pal Singh – Indian Blade runner.


Sure you have heard of Oscar Pistorius !   There are gruelling sports – Marathon would perhaps top that all – then there is half marathon – a  road running event of 21.0975 kilometres (13.1094 mi). It is half the distance of a marathon and usually run on roads.  Worldover it is fast becoming very popular.  There are many internationally recognised half marathon events and one such was held in Delhi on 27th Nov 2011. 

On a  chilly Sunday,  Delhiites came out in full support for the half marathon event sponsored by  Airtel.   Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Kenyan Lucy Kabuu won the title for men’s and women’s overall titles respectively.  Desisa covered 21.097 km in 59 minutes and 30 secs to receive the gold medal and $25,000 as winner.  Kenyan Kabuu won the race in an hour, seven minutes and four seconds while Sharon Cherop settled for silver in 1:07:08s.  From the Indians,  Suresh Kumar finished in the overall 20th spot (1:04:06s).  In the women’s it was  Lalita Babbar who was the fastest Indian with timing of 1:17:37s.

There was glam with cinestars including Bipasha Basu making it a celebration in the city brining together people of various backgrounds.   Anil Ambani, Rajeev Khandelwal were among the popular stars who participated.  Overall, 8,368 participants ran the 21.097 kms half marathon distance while the 7km Great Delhi Run was participated by 21,095 people.

Then there was Major Devender Pal Singh, whose spirits we all must salute ! – he finished the marathon with a timing of 2 hr 40 minutes and certainly deserves rich tributes !!  it is nothing about the timing – it is about finishing – it is about participating ……….. from this great person who perhaps saw death in close quarters.

Major DP Singh is a veteran of Kargil War and had his leg amputated after an injury in the war. July 15, 1999, is etched in Major Singh's memory. It was the day his front post was attacked by the Pakistan Army, and he was declared dead by the hospital. Thankfully, the doctors were able to revive him, but not before they amputated his leg. But the fighter in Major Singh has kept him afloat, and he now wants to better his own record as he aims for the full marathon and the Paralympics.   "The moment they said they want to amputate my leg I felt a strength from within. Now I want to lead by example and make everybody realise that it's all in the mind," Major Singh said.   From being declared dead at the Akhnoor hospital in the LoC to forming a support group for trauma victims, the man has been an example of courage under fire.

He has been taking part in Delhi's half marathon every year, becoming an inspiration to all war veterans.  Every marathon that Major DP Singh has run has helped improve his timing. The retired Major from the Dogra regiment lost his right leg during the Kargil war in 1999. He suffered 90 per cent disability as per the Army service conditions.    Since his debut at the Delhi half marathon where he took 3 hours and 40 minutes, to Sunday's half marathon which he clocked in 2 hours and 40 minutes, the Kargil veteran has come a long way. A regular day in Major Singh's life begins early as he hits the streets by 6 am, practising his daily fitness and running regimen. After three hours of practice, he goes to a private bank where he works as an Administrative Manager.   As Major DP Singh crossed the finishing line, it was not just a personal milestone for him, but it is through such strong performances that he wants to instill confidence in the victims of trauma and the differently abled people.  There were some adjustment problems for sure but that did not prove to be a deterrent for India's first blade runner Retd Major Devender Pal Singh who completed the Airtel Delhi-Half Marathon here on Sunday with a personal best timing of 2:45.00.

"There will never be an ideal situation for anything, whether it be sports, race or life. You have to cater for some sort of adjustment,"  "I wanted to prove that to myself. It is your mindset which shapes your vision. Your mind should control your body and not the vice-versa," – Singh is quoted as saying.  Singh is looking forward to run a full marathon and represent India in the Paralympics.


Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius (1986) is a South African sprint runner popularly known as the "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs", Pistorius, who has a double amputation, is the world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres (sport class T44) events and runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs by Ossur. Although eligible to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, Pistorius did not qualify for the South African team. Despite achieving third place and a personal best time of 46.25 seconds in the 400 metres in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 16 July 2008, this was short of the Olympic qualification time of 45.55 seconds. With his 400 m time of 45.07 on July 19, 2011, he achieved the "A" qualifying standard for the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics. He participated in the 400m sprint and 4x400m relay, being eliminated in the semi-final of the 400m sprint (finishing last with a time of 46.19secs) and being part of South Africa's silver medal winning relay team, making him the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal, although he was not selected for the final.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

[with  inputs from TOI] [photos from videos of IBN Live]

3 comments:

  1. Hi Sampath,

    i am quite inspired by this story and would love to get in touch with Major Singh as I have a family member who is in a similar situation.

    Can you please help me with any contact details of Major Singh - email/address/phone no etc

    Any help will be most appreciated.

    Please send your inputs at my personal mail id praveen.bhalla@gmail.com

    Thanks,
    Praveen

    ReplyDelete
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