Satendra Singh Lohiya was born a normal child in a small village in Madhya Pradesh on July 6, 1987. Within two weeks of his birth, he suffered from severe diarrhoea, and due to medical negligence, contraction in the nerves of both his legs created 60% permanent disability in them.
Despite his disability paving way for a new struggle for his parents, besides financial constraints, they raised him with special care and made sure he received primary education in his village.
Satendra’s passion for swimming
“I developed a passion for swimming while I was still in school. I used to swim in a river in my village for hours. With time, going for a swim after my school became a daily routine for me. Because of my disability, people did not believe I could become a swimmer, but their discouragement is what made me focus on my goal more than ever. I decided to pursue my studies along with swimming,” Satendra said in a conversation with The Logical Indian.
Under a very tough financial situation, Satendra completed his schooling, following which his father sold their land to send him to Gwalior for graduation and post-graduation.
“This was the turning point of my life when I met Dr V.K. Dabas, head of the swimming department in Laxmibai National Institute of Physical Education, Gwalior. He saw my talent and began training me for the National Level Paralympic swimming competition. After a hectic schedule that I followed for a year while being trained under Dr. Dabas, I participated in my first national level competition: X-National Paralympics Swimming Championship, 2009, held in Kolkata. There, I won a bronze medal in Free Style swimming among 400 swimmers from across the country,” he said.
This was just the beginning of his journey, which is on till date with him as an international-level swimmer. Dr. Dabas has been a constant support in his life, and appreciated him wholeheartedly when he participated in Canada America Para International Swimming Championship held at Gatineau, Canada.
“What makes me proud of myself is that no matter what I did, I never compromised with my education. I have successfully earned a Masters Degree in History along with a Diploma in Computers and Tally.” he said.
To develop his skills in today’s technologically advanced world, Satendra approached Shri P. Narahari, the then Collector (District Magistrate of Gwalior), who works for people with disability, and also for other weaker sections of the society. Having been a constant source of help and support to Satendra, he provided him with a computer, assuring to be by his side whenever necessary. In 2011, Satendra earned a Diploma certificate in his Computer Application Examination.
Satendra went on to receive the highest sports award of Madhya Pradesh, which is the Vikram Award, from the Honourable Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, in Bhopal on in December 2014.
“Among many of my recent achievements is my participation in Australia where I won the gold medal in three different categories of swimming, and also swimming a distance of 33 km in the Arabian Ocean in May 2017. In June 2018, I crossed the English Channel as part of a four-member para swimming team from India,” he said. Preparation for the same had begun a year back under the guidance of Mr. Roshan More (India’s first Ocean 7 swimmer and recipient of Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award).
Currently, he is training to swim the Catalina Channel in August 2019, along with a six-member Indian para relay team. “I now work at the commercial tax department of the Madhya Pradesh government along with putting continuous effort at becoming a better swimmer. I believe in hard work and dedication. I believe that anything is achievable if you believe in yourself,” he said.
The Logical Indian appreciates Satendra Singh Lohiya for his hard work and perseverance.