Friday, December 31, 2010

Ironies of Life

Recently, I read a news article titled 'Paralympian regains legs, but dream lostthat caught my attention. It was a unique case, where a miracle that would be considered a divine blessing has actually shattered some really lofty dreams and ambitions. I really do not know if we should feel happy or sad for the individual concerned.

The article is about the Dutch hand cyclist 'Monique Van Der Vorst' who lost the use of left leg at the age of 15. She is a wheel chair and hand cycle champion and won silver medals in both these event in the Beijing Olympics. In fact she lost the gold medal in the hand cycle event by a mere 0.13 seconds. Since then, she has been training hard to capture the gold in the 2012 London Olympics.

But fate had totally different plans for her. In March this year, she met with an accident when a cycle rammed into her while she was racing down in her hand cycle. This caused her leg to go into spasm and gave her back pains, disrupting further training. But slowly, she started getting tingling feelings in her legs and soon her legs became active. With slow training, she is now able to walk again, 11 years after she lost her legs.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a joyous occasion - treated as a miracle of life. But in her case, this has shattered her dreams of bagging a gold medal in the London Olympics as she is no longer qualified to take part in the Paralympics. So, what would have normally been a blessing has turned out to be a curse. For 11 long years, she has painfully and resolutely built her life around her condition. Just as she is about to reach the pinnacle of glory, her world has turned upside down and she has to start all over again.

But I am amazed and humbled by her positive attitude and determination. She has refused to bogged down by the turn of events and resolved herself to rebuild her life. She has now set her sights on winning the Triathlon competition in Hawaii as an able bodied person. I applaud her determination and mental strength to convert any situation into a new opportunity. It is people like her, who serve as role models for all those countless souls out there who see their long cherished dreams go up in smoke.