Chandeep Singh Sudan, 17, a national level skater, an aspiring Electrical Engineer, presently studies in MBSCET, Jammu. Recently, the Golden Book of World Records featured him as the fastest para-skater in 100 m category. Chandeep also won bronze medal in the All India Roller Skating Championship held in Uttarakhand in Rink Race. What’s different?
Chandeep had lost both of his arms in an accident in 2011. But instead of losing determination, he showcased extraordinary will and strength to achieve his goals.
The Tragic Accident:
“We weren’t home that day. Around 4 pm, my daughter called me and said, “Chandeep had burnt his arms”, recalls his father, as if the words were still echoing in his head. In 2011, Chandeep suffered an 11,000 V electric-shock after coming in contact of a high tension wire going over his house.
He was immediately taken to GMC, Jammu but doctors could do nothing really. He was then transferred to GMC, Ludhiana for plastic surgery.
Injuries and Surgery:
The gory electrocution had left Chandeep in a horrendous state. At GMC Ludhiana, the doctors immediately shifted their attention from his arms to his lower stomach.
“Usually the electricity passes through the body and comes out through the limbs, but for him, it had found its way out through his gut. His stomach had split wide open, and needed immediate suturing,” his father cringed. Initially they couldn’t perform a surgery on him because his bladder had been damaged, stopping the urine. The doctors had to do dialysis first. Once that was done, they went ahead and performed the first amputation. The infection in his arms had worsened after the first amputation and for the final surgery; his arms had to be amputated all the way to the shoulders.
“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,” remembers his father.
At a time when most of us would falter, complain to the Almighty or lose all hopes, Chandeep marveled at courage in the face of adversity and decided to excel in his life. He did his early schooling from Air Force School, Jammu. He used to participate in academic and athletic events regularly. “I never cared if I would win or lose. For me, participation and learning was more than enough and it used to make me happy,” says Chandeep. He had earned recognition in drawing and math quizzes, calligraphy and Kho-Kho. “I loved playing football with my friends and even got selected for my school team.”
She was shifted to Banyan Tree School, Jammu when later that year, the accident happened. Chandeep took up roller skating after the accident and spent hours every day trying to perfect his balance and speed. In the evenings, after he was done with the classes, he would go to the skating rink and practices for 90 minutes, competing with other able-bodied 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,” said Chandeep. In 2012, he participated in a national roller-skating event and won a bronze medal for the same. Moreover, he won the medal racing against able bodied competitors. His father carries a two-page long list of his son’s achievements with him at all times. “Many NGOs gave him awards at both state and national level,” says his father proudly. At Banyan International School, he resumed his studies as soon as he could and scored 78 percent in Class 10 and 77 percent in 12. Subsequently, he attended UIDC (United India Dance Group), which is the biggest dance workshop in the world. He was the only participant from the Jammu and Kashmir. “I am going to try and participate in India’s Got Talent sometime this year”, said Chandeep. Legendary sprinter, Milkha Singh personally endorses and has undertaken the responsibility of mentoring young Chandeep. “It’s a remarkable story and of course we are ready to help. We will do maximum from our Milkha Charitable Trust but will defiantly come short as the robotic arms, which will not only be functional for him but will make his life easier to some extent, come at around `40-50 lakh. As such we are asking the general public to come and help us in the effort,” Milkha said. Milkha said that after research it has been found that there is a hospital in Delhi, which has attached these robotic arms successfully but the arms itself are imported from the USA.
“The USA has a successful programme running there in which they are helping wounded soldiers injured in various conflicts. We will try and get some kind of subsidy or discount from The USA also. The idea is to help Chandeep gain some mobility from his arms. At present he uses his feet to use the laptop and for other things. We are hoping that his story inspires people to come forward with donations,” Milkha Singh said.
On December 31, 2016, the J&K Bank honoured Chandeep Singh by featuring him on its annual calendar for his extraordinary achievements in the fields of sports.
He further wants to apply for the upcoming Sher-e-Kashmir award, complaining light-heartedly that the state government doesn’t support him enough.
Chandeep Singh’s story stirs the soul of the present day youth who often have to complain about lack of resources, contrive excuses and blame others for their failure. The truth is, “God helps those who help themselves.”