Disability No Bar For This Superhero
No challenge, however big, can stop triple amputee Tinkesh Kaushik from achieving, and jumping from new heights
A 26-year-old fitness coach who loves to bungee jump. It might sound like child’s play, but not when one is a 26-year-old minus an arm and two legs. Tinkesh Kaushik, a triple amputee since the age of nine, is all set to be featured in the Limca Book of Records, for jumping the Canyon Swing in Kathmandu, the highest swing site in the world.
It was in the aftermath of a horrible kite flying accident that Kaushik lost his left arm and both legs below the knee. Following his amputation, his parents left no stone unturned to make sure that their son lived a happy childhood, be it in getting the right prosthetics or continuing his education. The accident did not stop Kaushik from playing sports like any other child.
“I TELL THEM THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO BE MENTALLY STRONG. THEY HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT THEY CAN OVERCOME THIS OBSTACLE AND MANY MORE THAT WILL COME THEIR WAY. THEY HAVE TO BE DETERMINED TO WIN.”Tinkesh Kaushik, Triple amputee & fitness coach
The Challenging Ones (TCO), an organization established by Major DP Singh, a war veteran, and amputee himself, was the first to nurture the sportsman in Kaushik. “The Challenging Ones gave me my first opportunity to participate in activities like marathons. This gave me the confidence to believe that I could pursue the sport in the future,” he recalls. Thereafter, Kaushik has been a regular at different marathons held in the country.
His foray into adventure sports began with the bungee jump at Canyon Swing, Kathmandu, the very feat that will soon make him a record-holder. In his own words, “It gave me a thrill like nothing else and made me think about attempting various adventure sports.” With both the TCO and the Aditya Mehta Foundation, Hyderabad, Kaushik has trained for a number of sporting events, including cycling and snowboarding for the Paralympics. Ever fond of travel, he holds Darjeeling close to his heart, while visiting Kerala, Leh, and Ladakh, bungee jumping in Colorado and a trek to the Everest Base Camp top his bucket list.
When he is not scaling mountains, Kaushik works as a fitness coach and as a mentor to patients who undergo amputation. His fitness coaching is not restricted to amputees alone; all of his current batch members are able-bodied individuals. His work involves training them physically while also educating them on the appropriate nutrition plan and lifestyle choices. At the Sancheti Hospital in Pune, Kaushik motivates amputees through counseling and training.
“I tell them that the most important thing is to be mentally strong. They have to believe that they can overcome this obstacle,” he says.
Currently completing his Expert Certification in Nutrition, Kaushik’s dream project is to open an all-inclusive gym, one that accommodates both differently-abled and able-bodied people. “Right now gyms are not accessible to people with disabilities due to lack of ramps, lifts and wide entrances to accommodate people in wheelchairs,” he says. “Our future constructions, including residential, commercial and service facilities, should be made accessible and people should be educated and exposed to the idea of inclusivity at home, at the workplace and places of fun. In a country where there is so much prejudice against any kind of disability, and inclusivity is still a pipe dream, I feel very proud and gratified to have defied all norms.” It is towards achieving this daunting goal, to show that the so-called ‘differently-abled’ is little different from others that Kaushik has dedicated his entire life and achievements.
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