“We are not physically challenged, call us challengers,” says Major (Retired) Devender Pal Singh, India’s first blade runner who was in the city on Friday to deliver a TEDx talk, a series of motivational lectures delivered by dignitaries from different fields at Panjab University (PU).
Major (Retd) DP Singh lost his leg during the 1999, Kargil war when a shell exploded near him. Singh underwent several surgeries, but lost his leg in the process.
“My leg had to be amputated. I was confident of not compromising on the my previous lifestyle and chose not to treat myself as a physically challenged person,” he said. Suffering from 90 per cent disability, Major DP Singh refused to bow down, and decided to give another short to his life, and became India’s first blade-runner. Major Singh also runs a group of amputees from various fields. At present, there are 450 members in the group.
“It really did hurt in the beginning and I did not know how to use it. As time passed, I grew comfortable to it,” said Major Singh who aspires to represent India at the Olympics, but refuses to elaborate on the issue.
The phenomenon of ‘Blade Runner’ became popular with South African quartermiler Oscar Pistorius, who is known as ‘the fastest man on no legs’. Pistorious became a household name after qualifying for the World Championship finals of 400 metres earlier this year.
When questioned about what keeps him motivated, Major Singh said, “As a believer in Sikh religion, I have always believed in overcoming challenges, but it was the training that I had received in Army, which empowered me to made it possible.”
Calling upon the students not to treat motivation a single moment phenomenon, Major Singh said, “The motivation has to come from within, not by reading motivational books, or listening to lectures. You need to break you mental barriers and achieve what your heart aspires to achieve.”