A Remarkable Journey: Sriram Srinivas Rajasekaran's Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy to Conquer Palk Strait

A Remarkable Journey: Sriram Srinivas Rajasekaran’s Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy to Conquer Palk Strait

Twenty-nine-year-old Sriram Srinivas Rajasekaran from Chennai, India, despite his multiple disabilities, swam across the Palk Strait on April 12, 2023. With 90% loco-motor disability and 83% intellectual disability, Sriram is one of the most promising disabled breaststroke swimmers. In the water, he transcends his limitations.

Sriram accomplished the 30km crossing of the challenging Palk Strait from Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka to Dhanushkodi without a break, completing the journey in 20 hours and 20 minutes. R. Selvam, Sriram’s open water swimming coach, highlighted the added challenges posed by offshore winds during the swim. The achievement has been recognized and honored by URF World records.

With over 30 medals, awards, and international accolades in swimming, Sriram’s journey is exceptional, given his late start in the sport. Introduced to competitive swimming at the age of 20, Sriram’s progress accelerated when he won a medal in a tournament held in Karnataka, despite his stiff hands and immobile legs.

Sriram’s dedication to training is unwavering, never refusing a workout, and with the constant encouragement of his parents and coach U Satish Kumar, he remains focused and undistracted.

While seeking recognition from the Indian Special Olympics and advocating for a quota for Indian representation in the Open Water Swimming category, Sriram’s parents, S Rajasekaran and Vanitha Rajasekaran, have been running the Sai Sriram Training Centre since 2013. This center provides vocational skills training, yoga sessions, and a safe space for adults with special needs, aiming to support those who cannot afford similar interventions.

Sriram’s journey has been transformative, improving his IQ, emotional control, and confidence. His remarkable achievements inspire others and highlight the potential of individuals with special needs. Through his participation in the Indian Special Olympics, Sriram hopes to make his country proud and empower parents of children with special needs, demonstrating that nothing is impossible.

Beyond Limits: A Little Belief Is All They Need

by Dr. Arnesh Garg

Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people. —Roy T Bennett

There are many families in our country who have children with physical, mental or multiple disabilities. The care of these children is often affected by superstitious beliefs. Lack of know-how by the caregivers stands in the way of helping these individuals to fully develop their skills. Lack of patience and sustained effort, even if parents are taught how to teach their children life skills, lead to the individuals being dependent on others throughout their lives.

The protagonist of this story, Sriram, and his family have proven that if the child is accepted wholeheartedly irrespective of the gender or shortcomings with positivity and optimism to overcome all the challenges with care, love and support, then no mountain peak is invincible.

The attitudes, mindsets and the cultural beliefs of society as a whole, once changed, will provide a positive, encouraging and conducive environment for special children to grow and live with dignity and happiness and achieve the best possible outcome.

Photo and story credits: Sriram Srinivas Rajashekaran Facebook and website

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