By SHRUTI GOYAL
Dehradun, 25 Mar: Hope Teresa David is the youngest wheelchair racer from India and the only para-athlete from Uttarakhand representing this sport.
Hope was born on 27 January, 2011, with a rare condition called Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele, which is a severe type of Spina Bifida, as a result of which, her lower limbs are affected and she has to use KFOs and AFOs (supports) even for walking short distances.
After she was born, she had to undergo two surgeries at Max Hospital Delhi within four months of her birth. She has been taking physio-therapy since then.
Last year, in November 2021, Hope underwent a major surgery again to release her tethered spine and removal of a bony spur growing in the spinal cord and the whole process from the day of her hospitalisation to her recovery phase had made her suffer a lot emotionally.
Hope says, “Wheelchair racing gives me a lot of self-confidence that I can do anything in life.” Now Hope is thriving and is back to practicing in her Racing Wheelchair.
Hope has been practicing her wheel chair racing for almost two years, now, but due to corona there have been numerous discontinuities. As things have improved, she is back in full swing. Hope had been practicing to participate in the National Para Games to be held in Odisha in March 2022. She went for the trials which were held at Parade Ground, Dehradun, which she had to attend in the middle of her final exams.
After the trials, the parents were informed that there was no sub-junior category (below 14 years) in Paralympics in India.
However, she will be a part of the celebration for the inaugural ceremony of the National Games as the President of the Paralympic Committee, Deepa Malik, has invited Hope to be present.
FICCI FLO Uttarakhand acknowledged young Hope and her hard work, as the Chairperson Komal Batra gave her the award for being the Youngest Para Athlete representing the Sport of Wheel Chair Racing in India. She also presented Hope with a cash award of Rs 21,000.
Hope is also a trained classical singer and a true go-getter. Her Can – Do attitude and her inspiring smile made her story reach the USA, where her life story has been published in a book which is about Spina Bifida.
Hope definitely has a long way to go and she plans to keep on training so that she can make her parents and her nation proud.