Pradeep Pattanayak

History is replete with personalities of the ilk of Helen Keller who fought all odds and emerged winners. This story is one such winner from Jajpur district. 

He was then just started learning to walk. The happiness of his parents and other family members knew no bounds. Hardly did they know that their happiness was short-lived. He was afflicted with Polio and all the dreams his parents had waved around him dashed to the ground. 

However, he fought all odds with his indomitable spirit. Now, he is a weightlifter who has participated in state and national level events and brought glory to the State and made his parents proud. 

He is Gyanaranjan Sahu, a resident of Nanpur Patna village under Balichandrapur Panchayat in Jajpur district. 

He has won a good number of medals at the state and national level competitions. Most importantly, despite being a divyang, he participated in all the competitions/events under the general category. 

“So far, I have won four National medals and four State medals in powerlifting. In the recently held para-swimming in Kalinga Stadium, I won two gold and one silver medal and was selected for the National completion held in Guwahati. Once you think you can’t do it, you will never achieve success, no matter how powerful you are,” said Sahu while displaying his medals. 

Sahu’s day starts with workouts at a local gymnasium. He also imparts training to children. 

However, the darker side of his life is full of challenges. 

He owns a betel shop in Balichandrapur market and runs his family from whatever he gets from it. He has always a wish to participate in competitions, but his poor financial condition is pulling him back. In the past events, his neighbours had provided all the support to him. 

Sahu is yet to receive any help from the district administration and State government. 

“He is brimming with dedication and self-motivation. If he gets help, it will go a long way in shaping his career in sports,” said gymnasium owner Prakash Kumar Senapati. 

“He never considers himself as a divyang. And this thought has been propelling him,” said a local resident, Himanshu Sekhar Bal. 

(Reported by Ghulam Guss, OTV)