New Delhi: Arunima Sinha, India’s first amputee and the world’s first female amputee to scale Mount Everest, today said she met Yuvraj Singh and the cricketer had been an inspiration behind her achieving this feat.
Arunima, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, was pushed out of a moving train after she resisted a chain-snatching attempt by some criminals, as she was travelling from Lucknow to Delhi two years ago.
One of her legs had to be amputated below the knee as a result.
The 26-year-old reached the summit May 21 along with a tribal from Jharkhand Susen Mahato, scaled the mountain May 19 at 7 a.m.
“Yuvraj has been an inspiration for me. If a person can fight cancer and come back and perform in the field then why can’t I do something similar,” she told reporters here.
“When he came back from the US, I had come to Gurgaon to meet him and when in hospital I had spoken to him on the phone.”
Arunima said her journey from the railway track to the top of Everest had been one full of ordeals. She thanked Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) and her coach and mentor Bachendri Pal, who was the first Indian woman to climb Mt Everest.
“My life from the railway track to Mount Everest has been one of struggle. Bachendri Pal and Tata Steel believed in me at a time when I couldn’t even walk so I’m very grateful to them,” she said.
The former national volleyball player said her sole aim to climb Everest was the fact that she thought it was the toughest thing to do.
“I wanted to live further but wanted to do something special. I took it upon myself to remover the tag of being ‘helpless’.
“I chose to climb Everest because I thought it was the toughest thing to do. In May 2011, I made the decision and by March 2012 I had started training for it.”
Arunima, who had been training in the TSAF camp in Uttarkashi since March 3, 2012 took 52 days to scale the highest peak in the world and said that every day of the journey was steeped in danger.
“While going up we didn’t face so much problems but coming down caused a lot problems because my prosthetic leg would slip off due to sweat and some blood. I had suffered blisters on my leg and had to drag my feet for sometime till I reached a safe place to open my wound.
“My artificial leg was very unstable on the ice so I had to be before careful. I couldn’t tend to my wounds because my amputated leg would have suffered frostbite. I couldn’t even remove my gloves.”
Arunima also said that she would be opening a sports academy for the disabled and the poor and had already bought land for the purpose.
“I have also decided to open a sports academy for the disabled and the poor. I bought the land from the money I had received from the government after my accident. There is construction work going on there right now,” she said.