Here’s 25-year-old Shrimant Jha from Chhattisgarh who was born with four fingers, both hands combined, and is an international para-arm wrestling star. Howzat?!
He has been practicing armwrestling for the past six years and has won gold at national level for every single year. Shrimant says he does not like to watch movies but glues to Youtube for armwrestling videos for learning tricks and tactics. He wrestles with his left arm and has practiced enough to make three fingers his strength. Based on his sheer will and determination, the 25-year-old has overcome odds and made a name for himself and India.
But here’s what is heartbreaking:
The day I was selected for the World Championship, I knew I wouldn’t be there when they’ll announce my name. I cannot arrange Rs 1,52,000 and I am tired of approaching government and NGOs – Shrimant
Mom sold her jewelry:
In 2014, his mother had to sell her jewelry for Rs 60,000 to send Shrimant to Poland where he had won a silver for India in the world championship. “Despite clearing several rounds in campus selection, I have been denied job opportunities. When people look at my hands they make faces and turn away. I feel heartbroken but have learnt to keep it to myself,” he says.
His father was an employee with an ironwool making company but lost his job during lay-offs. His mother is a housewife. Shrimant keeps all his disappointments, struggles and sorrows to himself. “Mummy-Papa ko dukhi nahi dekh sakta,” he says. (Can’t see my parents sad)
Where Lights Go Off:
A resident of Bhilai, Shrimant works with a private company in Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur for a monthly salary of Rs 13,000. The last date for sending his application for the world championship is just a week away – November 2, 2016. He has met the Chief Minister of the state Dr Raman Singh a couple of times but hasn’t received anything more than appreciation.
It hasn’t been easy for Shrimant since school days. He was keen on playing football and cleared one level after another only to be rejected because of his non-functional right hand. It was extremely demotivating for a STD 8 student afflicting him with hopelessness and despair. After his family and friends motivated him, he joined gym nearby where he learnt about para armwrestling. He has been practising since them, getting better every month and his national and international medals reflect that.
Weak financial condition at home has left him in no state to throw tantrums. His diet is the simple mom-cooked food which is roti, sabzi, dal, chawal. On this, he practices for 3-4 hours everyday – this he does after a day-long office where he works under the quality assurance department