Hyderabad: The 19-year-old young gymnast, T Parushuram Singh, was going through his routine exercise – double salto – during a preparatory camp for the Punjab Nationals in a stadium in Warangal on July 13, 2001. He had done the same exercise countless times before.
Call it the cruelty of fate, that was the last day in his life he ever took to a gymnastics stadium.
After taking a leap, he failed to have a perfect landing on his feet. Instead, he landed on his neck damaging four of his neck bones. The shell-shocked coaches at the Warangal stadium rushed Parushuram to a local hospital in the city. Later, he was shifted to Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) hospital. But as fate would have it, he never recovered from the tragedy because it left him bed-ridden ever since.
Sixteen years on, Parushuram is not just restricted to bed with paralysis, he cannot lead a life of his own. As if this was not enough, the official apathy has made life difficult for him and his family.
Recalling the tragic incident, the 34-year-old Parashuram says, “We were going through our preparatory camp in Warangal. Generally, the gymnasts perform the routine inside a stadium. But we were doing that outside and then the incident happened.” His hopes of representing the country and his family’s dreams lie shattered.
Parusharam started his career in gymnastics as a six-year-old boy when he was selected at a summer camp at YMCA, Narayanguda. Thereafter, he trained under coach Prabhakar at Lal Bahadur Stadium. He went on to represent the State in School Federation Games, nationals in junior and senior categories with promising results. But the accident brought his dreams crashing.
His family took him to several hospitals in the next five years, but in vain. Parushuram’s brother Janakiram laments that the situation would have been better had the doctors at NIMS performed a surgery. “When we showed him to a US doctor who was in city five years later, he told us that the doctors should have performed a surgery soon after the incident. As the surgery was life-threatening, the officials feared the worst and chose not to take the risk,” rues his brother, who works as an attender in Telangana Seat Certification Agency in Gadwal.
With his father Girija Lal working in BSNL with minimum salary and brothers still finding their feet, it became difficult for the family to meet the mounting expenses. “With each day costing over Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 for different tests, we could not afford the expenditure. The government helped for some time. When Balasubramanyam sir was the Managing Director of the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP), we had good support. After his transfer, we didn’t get any aid. We applied for the pension too. But the process took a toll on us and we stopped applying for that as well,” Janakiram says.
“Even to get the pension, we had to call MRO officials and prove that he (Parushuram) is still alive. Then we had to go to Gymkhana and apply there. After two to three months, we used to get the aid. With my parents aging and no one available at home, we stopped seeking help. My father had retired seven years ago. It left our brothers to take care of the expenses. The expected pension from the government still remains a distant dream,” explains Janakiram.
Having lost everything for the sport he loves, Parashuram is at officials’ mercy even after 16 years of the tragic accident.