It is a waste of time to get angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining._Stephen Hawking
These few words of the famous British theoretical physicist who moves around in a wheelchair is plain and simple as well as inspirational in the sense that he has an enviable record of achievements that shows physical disability is no a disability.
M. Sangeetha, a differently-abled athlete from Madurai, is one among those who has set an example and has a string of achievements defying the double discrimination of being a woman and disabled.
With several national and international level awards under her belt, she has won medals in both outdoor as well as indoor games: discus throw, wheel chair race, shot-put, javelin, table tennis and badminton.
She recently participated in the London Disability Athletic Challenge held at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre and romped home with the bronze in discus throw.
All that her poor tailor father could do was lend moral support.
For most people with disability, even the responses to their needs have often oscillated between charity on the one hand and welfare on the other. Sangeetha is no different, “In fact, my first gold in wheel chair race during a national meet held in Bangalore in 2002 was with a borrowed chair from a Bangalore fellow athlete”, she remembers.
S.Boopathi, South Zone forum of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Associations, claims that she is the first girl from Tamil Nadu among the differently-abled to win a gold medal at the national level.
Government job elusive
It was so near yet so far for her as she, after several pleas made to then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, lost a government job due to bureaucratic obstacles.
After winning the London Challenge, she had met Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Deputy Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin and had placed her request. She is expecting her dream to get a job will materialise soon.
She gratefully acknowledges the financial support of a few individuals and organisations like Lions Club, Rotary International and Jogging Club for her success.
She has now qualified for the 2nd Fazaa International Athletics Competition to be held at Dubai between February 8 and 14. She is again banking on the kind-hearted people to sponsor her participation.