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He turns polio patients into bodybuilders

Till he was 10 years old, polio patient Joginder Singh used to move mainly by crawling. Today, at 23, he is a national-level weight lifter and the owner of a gym. And not just any other gym, reports Vimal Chander Joshi.

delhi Updated: Nov 12, 2010 13:52 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi

Till he was 10 years old, polio patient Joginder Singh used to move mainly by crawling. Today, at 23, he is a national-level weight lifter and the owner of a gym. And not just any other gym.

Singh's gymnasium—Workout Wonders in Vivek Vihar—offers the physically challenged to opportunity to work out free of charge while other members pay Rs 1,300 every month.

Singh started working out at the age of 13, despite daunting remarks by parents and friends.

“I used to tell him that his legs were weak and he shouldn't take any risk as he had barely started walking after nine surgeries,” confesses his mother Jaswant Kaur.

“No one was sure about the dream he had envisioned."

Gearing up

Today, the powerful-looking Singh is preparing his boys for a local body building competition to be held in Connaught Place. As the young men remove their shirts, Singh gives them a demonstration.

While flaunting his triceps, he keeps his arms loose, smiles and gears up to stretch his left arm.

He has tips on posing to offer to his students.

"You should first show the muscles of your right arm as a surprise and then flaunt the triceps of the other arm."

Singh is sure to remind the young men of a very potent weapon.

“Do this with a disarming smile," he tells the physically challenged bodybuilders. “Remember that the judge wants to see your smile.”

The yearning to see his boys win is written plainly on his face, even more than on those of the contestants.

After an hour-long training session, he sends one gym member to get five bags of milk for the bodybuilders.

Later he will drive with the boys to the competition. Though Singh walks with the support of crutches, he can drive a "customised" car wherein a hand-operated rod is used instead of accelerator and break.

Inspiration for all

Amarjeet Singh, one of the contestants—also a polio sufferer—saw Singh at an arm-wrestling competition in Punjabi Bagh where he was inspired to follow in his footsteps.

“That was the time when I aimed to become as macho as him. Moreover, I can do my exercises for free here,” says Amarjeet.

But it is not just the physically challenged; Singh is also an inspiration for "physically fit" body builders.

Most touch the feet of this 23-year-old guru in reverence. Singh is gradually becoming a known name in the Delhi gymnasium circle. People come to him while looking for job as an instructor or bouncer.

"A bouncer's job is quite risky. One can end up ruining the entire career in that,” he advises one such job-seeker. “You should become an instructor in the beginning, that is relatively safer.”

Helping hand

Blazing trail for disabled students is not a new initiative for Singh. This SGTB Khalsa College alumnus helps students with physical disabilities complete admission formalities and also choose the right college.

Life's goal

Being his family’s sole bread-earner, Singh has a huge loan to repay, which he borrowed to open the gym in January. A government job is his ultimate goal as it can relieve him and his parents on the financial front.

These days, he puts in long, hard hours in the gym as the trial date for the Asian Games 2010 is looming closer.

Something tells me he will make it here too.