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Champion & his brush with ‘miracle’

columns Updated: Aug 28, 2010 00:02 IST

As Arjun Atwal's radiant face flashed on the television screen and he spoke the language of a winner who finds the world around him a wonderful place to be in, another image conjured up in my mind. It was the image of a face not sure of what the future holds for him. It was a face whose worried, unsure looks revealed the anxiety of a man who sees the world collapsing around him.

It was an encounter with a sportsman at his most vulnerable, who feared injuries could throttle his dreams of excelling in his field. It took place at the clinic of a man, who for many Indian sportsmen has become a "miracle" man. It was at his place that I had met cricketer Yuvraj Singh, with his whole body wired up, while he talked about his game and how Dr Jatin Chaudhry had set his knees right with the help of needle therapy.

He was the same man who had cured Sania Mirza's wrist pain, and impressed by what I had seen and heard from the mass of sick people, wreathing in pain while crowding his room, I too had become his patient.

On one of my many visits, I found a familiar face waiting outside the room, sitting in a place, which is so jam-packed, that one is lucky to find space to breathe.

Jatin, more familiar with the world of cricket, told me that a golfer, who claimed he had come from America, was here for treatment. On being told that the man was India's and even the world's leading golfer, and should be given attention, Atwal, accompanied by an older man, was immediately escorted into the room.

While Atwal narrated his problems to the doctor, I engaged the older man in conversation. Chand Bhalla, Atwal's father-in-law, was literally drenched in anxiety, and quizzed me on the effectiveness of this treatment. Atwal, himself, not sure what to expect, had come on the recommendation of Sania, and had even become a "butt of ridicule" among his golfing fraternity, which included friend, Tiger Woods.

Till then, I had not realized how strenuous golf is on the body of the player. "We swing the club while driving with such great speed and the knees placed at unusual angles get twisted and turned so much that most golfers are prone to serious injuries to their shoulders and knees," Atwal told me.

Atwal too had become a victim. Both his knees and shoulders were in pain and surgery was the only option. Like Yuvraj, Atwal did not want to go through this long, cumbersome procedure, which meant a lay-off for at least a year.

He feared losing his PGA card and coping up with post-surgery complications. When Sania told him this therapy had benefitted her, Atwal decided to give it a try.

For days together, Atwal, accompanied by his wife, would bear the excruciating pain of Chinese-made needles, around 50 in number, being inserted at one chosen spot of the finger plus doing conventional physiotherapy in the hope that within a week or ten days his agony would be over.

The smile which conveyed his triumph while becoming the first Indian to win a PGA title, could be seen the day he told us in the doctor's room that his scans were clear and he did not need a surgery.

“Miracle,” it seemed, had healed a champion sportsman, and he could now go back to pursuing his dreams.