By Padya Paramita
“Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools”
Most of us take life for granted. We are not contented with what we have and keep demanding more. What we don't realise is that we do have good families and perfectly functioning body parts. There are people in this world who do not have as much as us. Instead of crying about their misfortunes, they decide to never give up. The field of sports is no exception to such perseverance.
On the 25th of May, 2001, American Eric Weihenmayer became the first blind man to climb the Mount Everest. This is a man, who was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as well as being the first recipient of its 'Medal of Courage.' He also got married 13,000 feet above the ground, in Mount Kilimanjaro. Since reaching the highest peak in the world, Eric has encouraged people with vision difficulties to take up mountaineering. He has received a PhD in Humane Letters and written an autobiography called 'Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther Than the Eye Can See.'
After suffering a stroke, Kenyan Henry Wanyoike began to lose his eyesight in 1995 but his life did not stop. Instead, he has gone from there to becoming one of the world's fastest runners once he adapted to being assisted by a guide. In the year 2000 as part of the Kenyan squad in the Sydney Paralympics, not only did Henry's guide have trouble keeping up with his pace, but Henry also ended up winning the event and setting a record. Since the beginning of the millennium, Henry has come a long way, participating in Paralympics and marathon competitions and winning multiple medals in about 24 of them. He still holds the fastest record for a blind runner, set at Hamburg in 2005.
South African swimmer Natalie Du Toit had her left leg amputated at the age of 17. Despite this, she has gone on to win numerous events, both against Paralympics and able-bodied swimmers, swimming without the help of a prosthetic leg. Her career boasts achievements such as Commonwealth gold as well as being one of the two Paralympics athletes at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Another South African, Oscar Pistorious, the South African runner, had to have both his legs amputated just at 11 months due to the congenital absence of the fibula. However, he has been an active athlete, running with the help of prosthetic legs. He has won 100m gold at seven, 200m gold at eight and three gold and a silver medals at 400m competitions. The record which Usain Bolt broke at the 2008 Olympics for 100m was in fact, previously held by Oscar.
All four limbs of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitor Kyle Maynard are victims of congenital amputation. He never gave up either. By the age of 23, Kyle had become a nationally ranked wrestler, a 2004 ESPY award winner, a speaker who has inspired many as well as the bestselling author of “A Fighting Chance.”
Despite how little you care about baseball, Jim Abbott must be appreciated. Despite being born without a right hand, he was a courageous athlete, having been active in the Major League Baseball for 10 years, having even won an Olympic Gold for the USA in 1988.
These athletes are a just a few of many who did not give life a chance to push them to the ground. They fought their misfortunes and earned their right to follow their hearts and carve their names into the history of sports.
By Sarah Nafisa Shahid
Our last topic was Catapult and while we received quite a few entries, most of them were nowhere near humourous, which was surprising, seeing as we basically asked for something funny. The article below is one of the few that gave us what we asked for. Frankly, we are a little worried that you guys may be forgetting what it is like to have a little fun. Our next topic: Primates. We're sure you can find something funny to do with monkeys. Deadline is the Sunday noon and submissions have to be sent in at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It missed me by an inch, just an inch. Now as I stared at the scattered pulp of the orange on the floor, I tried my best to come up with an appropriate retaliation, and a quick one; because the soldiers on the other front had already made their second move - Chicken Pulaw.
Sabina and Rony, my two best warriors, had already received grievous wounds and hastily retreated from the field to take care of the stains. All that remained was Mashruba, who wasn't the fastest draw of the gun. As I frantically searched for ammo, for some inexplicable reason, my thoughts drifted towards a miracle: a poster from history class which I have never paid particular attention to before.
Mashruba might not be bright but she was stout of heart. And I knew she wanted to win this battle as much as I did. I called her over amidst the hail of pulaw and whispered the plan in her ears. The next was just action.
Grabbing the bundle of elastic bands from the counter, I hung one quickly on a barbeque skewer lying on the floor as we crouched behind the cover of the table. Kebab masala dripped down my hands but I didn't have time to pay it any heed. I gave the skewer to Mashruba, who braced it against her foot and stretched the elastic band as far back as she could as I held a bowl of coleslaw at the end. With the exchange of a nod, I let go and watched the coleslaw fly high and true and land directly on the enemy leader's head. I felt like I could've kissed the guy who made the poster of Roman catapults.
One down, two more to go. I sent over a few more volleys of coleslaw and Daal Makhani. Sometimes the enemy dodged it but four bowls later, victory was ours. And it was sweet indeed. As sweet as the bowl of Roshgolla Mashruba brought out from the cooler and shared with me.
I looked around and saw that it was the short, balding teacher who was in charge of the whole food section of the school fair. As he glared at me, I realised the joy of my great victory would be short-lived.
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