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Three-time Olympian archer Limba Ram battling neuro disease

Limba Ram was admitted to SMS Hospital in Jaipur two days ago as he was not able to walk or speak

jaipur Updated: Apr 13, 2018 22:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
SMS Hospital
Feted with the Arjuna award in 1991, Limba Ram was honoured with the Padma Shree by then President Pratibha Devisingh Patil in 2012.(HT File)

Lying in a bed at SMS Hospital’s cottage number AC-1, Limba Ram is trying to have a conversation with his friend Malti, who came to visit him. When she asked him what he would like to have for dinner, he went into a deep thought. After much deliberation, in a slurred voice, he answered: “Brinjal curry”.

For many, the 46-year-old needs no introduction. A renowned archer, Limba Ram represented India in many international competitions, including three Olympics. In 1992, he equalled an archery world record at the Asian Archery Championships in Beijing. Feted with the Arjuna award in 1991, he was awarded the Padma Shree by then President Pratibha Devisingh Patil in 2012.

Presently, Limba Ram is fighting a different battle. He was admitted to SMS Hospital two days ago as he was not able to walk or speak. A team of doctors from the hospital’s neurological department, led by Dr Bhawna Sharma, is attending upon him.

“He has problems of imbalance and slowness while walking, change in speech and some other discrepancies related to neurology. All these symptoms can be a result of many neurological conditions, but in his case, it is a neuro-degenerative disease known as cerebellar ataxia,” Sharma said.

She, however, added that a confirmation can only be given once the reports of his examination arrive. “It is simply a clinical diagnosis at this time,” she said. The reports are expected in the next 2-3 days.

Limba Ram said first signs of the illness cropped up in 2013. “It started with my eyes. I would look at a person standing still, and it would seem to me that he is moving from side to side,” he said.

Limba Ram said he started experiencing pain in his legs a few months later. Gradually, his leg movement became slow. Over the years, his condition kept deteriorating. Six months ago, the pain became unbearable. Since then, he has consulted a number of doctors.

Two days ago, he was rushed to the hospital. “I could not speak or walk at all. Right now, because of the treatment and speech therapy, I am able to talk this much,” he said.

Currently employed as a sports officer in the state government’s sports council, Limba Ram is happy with the support he has been offered by the Centre and the state government. “After Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore got to know about my condition, he has been regularly checking up on me. People from both state and Centre have assured me that all my expenses will be taken care of and I will be given the best treatment possible,” he said with a smile on his face.

Limba Ram wants to open a sports training facility and hostel for boys and girls in his native village of Saradeet, located in Udaipur district’s Jhadol tehsil. “If I, being just an ordinary villager, can represent India in three Olympics, so can many others,” he said.

First Published: Apr 13, 2018 22:14 IST