India’s first world climbing champion Kumar Manikandan’s positivism helped him to overcome tremendous physical and financial difficulties when he claimed gold in the men’s para-climbing event in the World Sport Climbing Championships held in Paris on September 14, 2012.
Although inflicted with polio from a young age, Manikandan ignored the odds and feverishly practiced his art in Bangalore. Initially he had to lift his polio affected right leg with his hands to be able to climb, but soon learnt to improve his physical fitness levels to such an extent that he was able to compete with able bodied athletes as well.
It is no secret that his family has seen tough days; according to some sources, Kumar’s family lived on Rs 80 (USD 1.54) a day, which makes the young climbers success story even more special. According to the 26 year old, after his win, people have come forward offering financial help. This financial help is what has helped Manikandan look to the future with renewed confidence.
Kumar’s story is the stuff of legend, where as a physically challenged athlete, he finished in the top 10 against fully able bodied athletes in India’s national climbing championships last year. Kumar had mentioned in 2002 that he aspired to be world champion; this dream has now come true as India’s young champion sets an example for all physically challenged people around the world.