Srinagar: Imagine an amputee skier racing down the Alps like a pro!
Well, this is not a fairytale, but a reality in Kashmir. Six specially-abled youth from Kashmir undertook two weeks of rigorous skiing training at Arm’s High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) at Gulmarg.
The event was flagged off by GOC 31 Sub Area under the aegis of HQ 15 Corps. A number of volunteers had approached the Indian Army for the short course. Artificial limbs and other special accessories were provided by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, an NGO from Jaipur.
The team successfully completed 14 days of basic skiing course with effect from 12 to 26 March 22 under difficult and trying conditions. The team was led by Lt Col Dharamdatt Goel, who himself is a war-wounded soldier and an amputee left leg. The other six Kashmiri members included Gowhair Ahmad Ganaie, Umar Salam, Abdul Rehman Mir, Rafiq, Musaib Rashid, and Syeed Nazir.
During the course, they learned basic skills of sliding, gliding, snow ploughing, manoeuvring, and traversing. Being differently-abled with above-knee as well as below-knee amputation, they conveyed the human spirit rises overall limitations. After learning the basic skills they successfully covered a distance of 250 meters, which seemed impossible on the first day.
“Skiing for the specially-abled is yet to be explored in India. The six skiers through their courage and motivating action have conveyed a strong message to the youth of Kashmir that despite the challenging situation in life, determination and hard work is always rewarded. Chinar Corps hopes that many more specially-abled youth take up skiing and represent India in Paralympics in times to come,” said a defence spokesman at Srinagar.