There is always a saying that, when you integrate substantial inputs day in, day out, it is very much certain about the fact that he or she is bound to reap rewards for the efforts that are embellished to perfection. We read inspirational stories in a bid to change our route map so that it would take us to an altitude of success.
“To succeed in life, one should turn a weakness into strength,” an inspiring phrase said by India’s first wheelchair bodybuilder Anand Arnold himself. This goes to show how he put on a spurt to turn his weakness into a strength. He is now an inspiration to many people and the more you know about him the better you will understand how he had come a long way to be an icon.
His Fight with Cancer:
No one would have ever had a thought in mind how one would become a bodybuilder after having been diagnosed with cancer. Despite facing all such struggles in the early stages of his career, he had that burning attitude to accomplish his goal. Anand Arnold has been nurturing his dream to be a bodybuilder at the age of 13.
Ever since he decided about his future, he realized that he had to come out from the comfort zone. He began his ideal preparations, sweated it out day in day and day out and bagged his first title that very year. It’s not about the accolade but the manner which it came about. However, an unfortunate tragedy struck the young fitness enthusiast at the age of 15. He was diagnosed with deadly cancer in the lower part of his spinal cord and he had to perform surgery but in the process, he was paralysed.
Ever since that tragedy that haunted him at a very young age, Anand was bedridden for three long years but that didn’t stop him from fighting back as he overcame the situation in a great manner. He still believed that he would relish his dream with a disability. He kick-started intensive training once again and did not let the negativity get the better of him.
Hailing from the city of Ludhiana, Anand fought through his physical ability. The fact that he had an intense belief in himself as well as God pushed him further to go miles. Today, he is one of the greatest bodybuilding personalities in the world. Not to forget the fact that all his achievements, hard work have been without the help of drugs or steroids.
Speaking to folomojo, about his illness at such a young age, Anand said, “At the age of 13, I won my first title – Mr. Golden Ludhiana. I was doing well until I suddenly started experiencing extreme pain in my lower back. One night it was unbearable and I was rushed to the hospital where the doctors discovered that I was suffering from the last stage of lower spinal chord cancer. I was immediately operated, but unfortunately, that left me paralysed.”
Talking about what inspired him to fight back, he said, “I was bed-ridden for three years. My family and loved ones were very worried, but I did not give up. I remained positive and knew that all was not over yet. One day, the students who used to train under me, brought me to the gym where I did a few shoulder exercises,” he was quoted as saying by folomojo.com.
Talking about his transition even after facing such struggles, he said, ” I started winning titles the moment I got back to my training. I’ve been crowned Mr India thrice, Mr Punjab 12 times, and also have 27 other titles to my name.Apart from being India’s first wheelchair bodybuilder, I am also the face of Muscle Mania and the brand ambassador of Halelifenutrition.com.”
Anand has his say on difficulties that he faced with a wheelchair:
“Training on a wheelchair is not easy at all. For the average person, it takes several weeks, at times even several months, to get ready for a competition. But it takes me at least a year. But I am a warrior and I will fight until the end. I do all this without taking any extra supplements or steroids. I think that in itself is a huge achievement.
Another challenge I face is raising funds for my training. As of today, I’ve not received any kind of sponsorship. Though there are health ministers and other influential people living in my locality, no one has come forward to help me and my family.
My father, who is has retired from the Air Force, has been the one who’s always ensured that I get whatever I need, be it for my diet, my training or my competitions. I am really grateful to him and to my family for supporting me through and through,” he added.
Speaking about his diet plan and exercise regimen, “I’ve always eaten natural and healthy foods to build my body. One doesn’t need any artificial enhancement if one works hard and maintains a strict diet. I follow my diet strictly and also focus on upper body exercises like pushups, chest press, dumbbell press, back dips and peck deck.”
Anand said that he wants to be an example of inspiration and motivation. “Although I’ve achieved so much, I feel it’s just the beginning. I still have lots to achieve in life. I want to be an example of inspiration and motivation. I want to help people who’ve given up hope in life to get inspired and fight back to stand on their feet.” he added.
Anand’s meal plan:
Breakfast – 10 eggs and a banana milkshake
Lunch – 250 grams chicken breast with boiled rice
Dinner – 10 eggs with a banana milkshake again; same food for his post-workout meal
Inspiring story of 8-yr-old Cancer Survivor- who won Table Tennis Gold at World Children’s Winners Games
Eight-year-old Aronyatesh Ganguly showed the world that he is a real champion. The boy with incredible fighting spirit from West Bengal’s Serampore has made the entire nation proud by winning gold in table tennis at the World Children’s Winners Games 2019 held in Moscow. He is also a cancer survivor.
The July 4-7 event was scheduled as an international sports competition for childhood cancer survivors. “Aronyatesh was so excited he forgot the suffering he had gone through,” said mother Kaveri, who accompanied him to Moscow.
“Aronyatesh was among 10 children from India and the only one from Bengal who competed with kids from across the globe. He has amazing sporting skills and participated in all six disciplines,” said Ameeta Bhatia, a volunteer social worker at the paediatric department of Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Mumbai, where Aronyatesh was treated for leukaemia.
Aronyatesh who has been diagnosed with leukaemia in April 2016 had to stay in Mumbai for 11 months for his treatment. After several rounds of chemotherapy and other medication, doctors declared him ‘cancer-free’ in December 2018.
But he needs frequent follow-ups and treatment so that the disease does not reoccur. Nobody knew his passion for sports until volunteers and doctors came to know about it during Aronyatesh’s long stay in TMH.
Aronyatesh had been eagerly practising for the event for more than 2 months besides regular check-ups to keep himself healthy. “His day would start at 5.30am. From 6 am to 7.30 am, he went for track and football practice. After that, it was swimming, followed by chess and table tennis. He attended shooting classes in the evening,” said Kaveri.
He would attend shooting classes by travelling to Bhadreshwar daily. It was Chief coach at Bulls Eye Shooting Academy Pankaj Podder found a prodigy in Aronyatesh, who hit the centre of the target on the very second day of his training and since then, he grew from strength to strength.
“He is a gifted boy. I am amazed at the kind of calm and concentration he has at such a young age. We are planning to train him further,” said Podder, an acclaimed shooter.
Podder didn’t charge even a single penny for training Aronyatesh and the academy already started looking for sponsors to provide for the child’s kits so that he can continue training after his Moscow trip. It is not just Podder but Aronyatesh’s grit, determination, energy and skill won the hearts of all his coaches.
From Soumen Mukherjee, who taught him how to perfect the art of table tennis, to Sharad Vaze, his chess tutor, and Koel Niyogi, his swimming instructor, all are quite surprised by his never give up attitude,
For the uninitiated, World Children’s Winners Games is a yearly event that is organized by Podari Zhizn (Grant of Life) Foundation, founded by two Russian actors. It aims to restore children who fought a long battle with cancer. All ten participants across India in 2019 were selected by a panel at TMH, Mumbai.
(This article was originally published in Times of India)