No roadblock, no hurdle is bigger than your determination and will to achieve success. And who better than the famous paralympic athletes to prove it. There are many shining gems among us, who despite all odds set out to achieve success and leave their mark in the world. These famous Paralympians without thinking of the consequences shed their inhibitions and drew strength and courage from their being specially abled.
Below are some of the inspiring famous paralympic athletes.
Rajinder Singh Rahelu
The Indian para-athlete, Rajinder Singh Rahelu was born on 22 July, 1973. A paralympic powerlifter, Rahelu contracted polio when he was six months old and is suffering from infantile paralysis. He won the first-ever medal [bronze] for India in powerlifting at the 2004 Summer Paralympics and was honoured with the Arjuna Award by the President of India in 2006 for this achievement. He was one of the two Indians to represent India at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing and also participated in the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London but couldn’t succeed in the three attempts at 175 kgs. Rahelu won a silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games with a lift of 185 kgs. The Indian paralympic athlete is currently working as a para powerlifting coach in Sports Authority of India at NSWC Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Natalie du Toit
A highly talented swimmer since a young age, Natalie du Toit had her left leg amputated at the knee after she was hit by a car while riding her scooter back to school after swimming practice. She was back in the pool after three months to participate in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and won both the multi-disability 50 m freestyle and the multi-disability 100 m freestyle in world record time. At the closing of the event, she was honoured with the first David Dixon Award for Outstanding Athlete of the Games. She competed against able-bodied swimmers at the All-Africa Games and won gold in the 800 metres freestyle. She won six gold medals at the fourth IPC World Swimming Championships and five gold medals at the 2008 Summer Paralympics. The famous Paralympian is the third amputee ever to qualify for the Olympics. Du Toit announced her retirement from para-athletics in the year 2012.
The Indian paralympic player, Karamjyoti Dalal is a discus thrower and a former kabaddi player. She met with an accident that affected her motor sensation and thus, switched to discus throw from kabaddi. The 30-year-old made the country proud by winning a bronze medal in the IPC World Para Athletics Championships. Dalal with her determination and calibre has won many medals- Gold Medal at Fazaa Grand Prix in Dubai , 2 Bronze Medals at Asian Games in Beijing  and Bronze Medal at World Para-Athletic Championship in London . Currently, the Indian paralympic athlete is working as a coach at the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs, Haryana.
The famous paralympic athlete Kyle Maynard is an American speaker, author and mixed martial arts athlete. He is popular for becoming the first quadruple amputee to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro without the aid of prosthetics. He received the ESPN Espy Award for Best Athlete With A Disability and President's Award for the Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2005, he wrote the New York Times Bestselling autobiography, No Excuses: The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and in Life. Maynard is also the founder of the No Excuses Crossfit Gym. He appeared in Vanity Fair and the Abercrombie & Fitch Stars on the Rise catalogue. He was also featured in talk shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live.
India’s first paralympic gold medalist since 2004, Mariyappan Thangavelu is an Indian paralympic high jumper. Thangavelu suffered permanent disability at the age of five in his right leg when he was run over by a drunk bus driver while walking to school. He represented India in the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro in the men's high jump T-42 category and won a gold medal in the finals. He bagged a bronze medal at 2019 World Para Athletics Championships after clearing a distance of 1.80 m in the Men's High Jump T-63 event. The Indian paralympic player was named the flagbearer for the 2018 Asian Para Games held in Jakarta in October 2018. He was also offered a Group A post as a coach with the Sports Authority of India. Thangavelu received the Padma Shri Award, the Arjuna Award in 2017 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2020.
Oscar “Oz” Sanchez
Born on 2 December 1975, Oz Sanchez is an American Paralympic hand cyclist and triathlete, and a former Marine. After suffering from a spinal cord injury due to a motorcycling accident, Sanchez started handcycling competitively in 2006. The famous paralympic athlete competes in the H5 Classification. He represented America at the 2008 Games in Beijing, earning a gold medal in the para-cycling time trial and a bronze medal in the road race. In 2009, he bagged another gold medal in the time trial event at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Italy. His story was featured in the 2009 Steven C. Barber directorial documentary ‘Unbeaten.’
Born on 30 September 1970, Deepa Malik is the first female Indian para-athlete to win a medal. Currently, the world number one in the F-53 category, Deepa has won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in the shot put and gold in the F-53/54 Javelin event at the para athletic Grand Prix held in Dubai in 2018. An avid participant in adventurous sports, she is associated with Himalayan Motorsports Association [H.M.A.] and Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India [F.M.S.C.I.]. She created a New Asian Record in Asian Para Games 2018 and is the only Indian woman to win medals in 3 consecutive Asian Para Games [2010, 2014, 2018]. In all, Malik has achieved 58 national & 23 International medals across all fields to date. The Indian paralympic Deepa Malik was regarded with the Arjuna Award in 2012 and Padma Shri Award in 2017. At present, she is the 'Clean India' brand ambassador for NMDC and expert consultant for Disability Inclusive Accessible Infrastructure for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs 'Smart Cities' project.
The Indian paralympic athlete is India’s second gold medalist at the Paralympics. He is the first-ever Indian paralympic to win two gold medals at the Paralympics, first at the 2004 Summer Paralympics and second at the 2016 Summer Paralympics. He went on to set a new world record in the paralympic javelin throw at the 2004 Summer Paralympics with a distance of 62.15m shadowing the old one of 59.77m. Jhajharia further bagged a gold medal at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, a silver medal at the 2014 Asian Para Games and the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships. At present, he is employed with the Sports Authority of India and is being supported by the GoSports Foundation through the Para Champions Programme.