Pune: It is a heart warming story of grit and perseverance. A national level volleyball player before she lost her leg after being thrown off a train, 26-year-old Arunima Sinha converted this obstacle into her strength. After scaling the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest (8848 meters high) in the 2013, Arunima successfully scaled the 5895 meters high Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa on May 11 at 10.40 am. With this achievement, Arunima has became the first female trekker to conquer the two peaks with an artificial leg.
“Before the expedition at Kilimanjaro, I thought I had already scaled Mount Everest so this expedition would be easier. Later, I remembered the words of mountaineer Bachendri Pal that never compare one mountain with another because you can not challenge the mountains,” Arunima said on Friday. “After conquering mount Everest, many people were asking me about my next expedition. I took up Kilimanjaro, and now I have decided to conquer all the highest mountains in all the seven continents,” she added.
If the tragedy would not have hit her, she would not have even taken up trekking. In April, 2011 while travelling in Padmawati express, Arunima got into a scuffle with some chain snatchers and was thrown off the train. She was hit by a passing train and injured her right leg. In a bid to save her life, doctors had to amputate her leg.
About her fight to overcome her disability, Arunima said, “I would not have climbed Mount Everest if I had not met with the accident. Though I lost my leg in the incident, it made me much stronger. When I was going through a tough time, I remembered my mother’s words who told me that when on the edge, look behind and see how much you have climbed and you will realize that you are only one step away from your destination.” She considers her brother Om Prakash Sinha, mountaineer Bachendri Pal and her family as her support system.
However, not all supported her when she decided to take up trekking. Recalling those days, Arunima said, “After I lost my leg, many started talking negatively and some of them would taunt me. But being a sportsperson, I decided to convert this negativity into my strength. Disability is only in the mind and it hardly matters when you have strong will power.”
Arunima was supported by BVG India for her expedition and wants to start a sports academy with her reward money.