KOCHI: Born with no arms and legs, Australian motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, has pushed the physically boundaries by taking life’s challenges head on. Taking a leaf out of his gritty chapter, a 51-year-old physically-challenged man defied age and odds to accomplish his childhood dream of swimming across the Periyar.
On Wednesday, thousands watched in rapt attention as Radhakrishnan T N, a native of Thaikkattukara in Aluva, born with a deformed right arm, conquered the feat one eager stroke at a time. “Squatting on the banks of the Periyar, I used to watch wistfully my friends swimming across the river. I wanted to swim like them,” said Radhakrishnan, a senior clerk with the Aluva Taluk office. Last year, I met Saji Valassery, who had trained several children at Aluva. Though he discouraged me initially, he agreed to train me seeing my perseverance, he said.
“Initially it was very difficult. But with intense practice I slowly started to get the hang of it. This gave me the confidence to swim across the Periyar,” said Radhakrishnan.
His superior officer and Aluva Tahsildar flagged off the swim around 8 am. Radhakrishan along with his trainer Saji set off from the ghat near Adwaitha Ashram and completed the feat at Aluva Manappuram.
“It was like a dream come true for me. Two years before, I never hoped I could do this,” Radhakrishnan said. Saji said it was Radhakrishnan’s sheer determination which made this possible. “When I told him it would difficult to teach him, Radhakrishnan persisted. He attended a few summer training classes in 2016. He rejoined the class on February this year. He took 21 classes before the final swim,”Saji said.