|With My Parents|
|While participating in Corporate Olympiad 2011|
|At Dolphin Swimming Pool in our native place Sathupally, Khammam Dist., Andhra Pradesh|
|Driving hand operated Maruti Zen|
I am Madhavi Latha working as a Senior Manager in Standard Chartered Scope International Pvt Ltd. I am a physically challenged person with more than 80% permanent disability due to poliomyelitis. I was a bright student and also very active and enthusiastic since childhood. Even though I came from a small village, my parents Mr Pardhasaradhi Raju and Mrs Varalakshmi Devi gave much importance to my studies. After completing 10th standard, I could not go to college as there was no disabled friendly infrastructure available in the college. I requested the principal to provide necessary arrangements for my convenient movement for which he expressed his inability. So, I decided to appear privately for Plus 2 and also for graduation.
In my childhood, I used to play with my friends in the sand in front of our house. However as age grew, I found it difficult to play with friends as those sports were not suitable to my condition. I decided to be away from sports as it was not the area where I could take active part. Therefore, my concentration shifted not only to academics but also reading general books. After starting my career in the banking sector, my total concentration shifted to my profession. I got lot of appreciation for my performance from all quarters. I became a workaholic. I acquired many professional and academic qualifications.
I never bothered about my health and never made any effort to do any exercises. At the age of 37, I suffered from severe back pain and also muscle weakness. When I went to a famous orthopedic surgeon, he suggested spinal surgery and also advised that if I did not undergo the surgery at that moment, my life would be at risk. As success rate for surgery is minimal at my age, my family members and I were in great distress. Much against to my cheerful and confident nature, I became very dull and depressed. At that stage, I came to know about Mr Ananda Jothi, a famous sports physiotherapist(specialisation in musculoskeletal manipulative physiotherapy) through one of my wellwishers, Mr Rajesh.
I am very grateful to Mr Anand as I strongly believe that he gave me second birth with his treatment. He suggested hydrotherapy apart from other exercises. All my friends and relatives were surprised how I could swim? They didn’t have confidence in his words and suggested me not to follow his advice in this aspect. However, I had strongly decided that I should follow his instructions without fail. And at last the day had come to fulfil my long cherished desire for playing in water. In spite of my back pain, I enjoyed to be under water. Simultaneously I took homeo medicine for two years under the advice of Dr Mathews Jo, which helped me in strengthening of muscles and reducing pain.
Slowly I learnt swimming on my own. I have also participated in Corporate Olympiad 2010 Chennai. After participating in swimming in international standards pools in that Olympiad, I was in euphoric state for at least a week. For my participation in that Olympiad, I got the “most encouraging sports person” award. I felt very happy to be recognized as a sports person in my latter part of life which I never dreamt of. I am very thankful to the event organizers for their wholehearted support extended to me. When I first went to Mr Anand, he told me had I been advised hydro therapy in my childhood, I could have been in a better physical condition.
After noticing these benefits personally, I developed an intense desire to share my experiences with the fellow challenged people. Simultaneously, I was able to understand the challenges of leading a sedentary life due to disability. I came to know about Paralympics through my physiotherapist. After that I started browsing sites related to disability sports. I was astonished to see the facilities in developed countries with regard to these sports.
Awareness among general public with regard to sports for the challenged is very minimal in
even though a few people are participating in these events. I thought of making an effort to create awareness among the public to the best of my ability and extent of possibility. I decided to give presentations in schools, colleges and other organizations. Playing these sports at an younger age improves the physical condition of challenged persons. However, better late than never. Even if they start at their middle age, it helps them in maintaining good health and there is ample scope for prolonging the longevity of life. Active participation in sports enhances their confidence levels. India
Swimming helps in muscle building, strengthening and relaxation of muscles which is vital for any activity. Hence I decided to give priority to swimming over other sports events. I have plans to encourage poor challenged children by providing coaching in swimming with the support from Government. I approached Member Secretary, Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu who appreciated the idea and responded to my request in a very positive manner.
My final goal is to establish a sports school for the challenged (both physically and mentally), irrespective of their age and financial condition.
I am really grateful to our management for their support and encouragement to implement my dream project “Yes, We Too Can!”.
Life is a challenge; let us face it boldly.