December 9, 2005

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Joby Mathew, Adukkom, Kottayam

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In the world of categorizations, doctors may certify him as 65% disabled, with virtually no legs.  But Joby Mathew of Adukkom in Kottayam has been proving that he can do many things better than ‘normal people’, as he demonstrated at Utsunomiya, Japan recently.

Competing against strong and able-bodied men from different countries of the world, he won a bronze medal in the open category of the World Arm Wrestling Championship.  He picked up a couple of medals in the disabled category as well, but that doesn’t thrill him as much as the former triumph.

“I was at a big disadvantage against them because they could draw a lot of strength from their lower limbs.  And I also lacked experience at international level as it was my first meet,” he says about his experience.

Ironically, it was Tamil film star Sarat Kumar who gave him Rs.1 lakh for the Japanese tour when his attempts to raise finances failed.  The 28-year-old says he was moved by the star’s gesture.  “He came forward to help me out when the people who mattered in my own State did nothing.”

He is now into fencing, and has been practicing hard at this sport with the intention of winning a medal for India in the next Paralympics at Peking in 2008.  “Unfortunately, arm-wrestling is not a discipline either at the normal Olympics or the Paralympics, so I am determined to work hard at fencing.”

Sports is not his only passion.  He has danced on more than 600 stages.  He is a Law graduate and is working as the PRO at Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, Kalamassery.

He is also deeply involved in the activities of the Kerala Rehabilitation Institute for Physically Affected, an NGO.  “I would like to think that people like me are not disabled, but differently-abled,” he says. “And I want to tell that to the entire world by climbing Mount Everest.”


Courtesy: P.K.Ajith Kumar, The Hindu, November 22, 2005
Contributed by: Administrator 


"Put your shoulder to the wheel."