An Inspiring Article on Shams Aalam – International medallist in Para Swimming and who holds the world record in Longest Open Sea Swimming by Paraplegic person.
Imagine a Swimmer who has swum in the Sea against the tide , parallel to the tide , who swims in the rivers and ponds , being told at a private swimming pool that the pool is deep and length is too big for him to swim there.
Shams Aalam laughs while narrating such incidences, where he has been told that he cannot swim there or being asked if he can swim at all !!
Shams believes that when people see him on a wheelchair, and that too alone , they believe that he might not be knowing swimming. Shams feels that the society is still far from understanding the disabled persons. Most of the persons still have a belief that a person on a wheel chair or other disabled person may not be capable of doing something.
It had not been easy for Shams either . He did not become a successful person overnight . He has had a long journey to reach where he is today.
A Winner of many Awards , A Limca World Record Holder , the first paraplegic person with 100% disability to swim in the Sea , A Wheelchair Model , A TedX speaker , A Motivational Speaker , A mentor , the list would go on , if one would need to introduce Shams Aalam
Shams was born in a humble family in Rathaus Village of Madhubani District of Bihar. From his childhood, he was really surrounded by sports people and was participating in amazing activities such as Swimming, Fishing, Cricket, Tipcat and Wrestling while still being a Child . Shams says he was swimming in the local pond when he was just 2 years old.
For having a better education , Shams moved to Mumbai and completed his Schooling , his Diploma and his Engineering.
During this period of education , Sports had always been on his mind . Karate was one competition where he was excelling. He had already bagged over 40 medals and was already a Black Belt Holder.
His dream was to make it in big in the World of Karate. He probably would have achieved fame here, but for a medical complication which arose in 2010. A spinal tumour was detected , and an operation which went bad or went wrong , made him a Paraplegic from Chest Down.
He says , “I was disheartened with my disability at first but soon enough, I found a way to cope up with it.”
As a part of rehabilitation and to start physiotherapy, Shams started going to the Paraplegic Foundation in Mumbai. It was there that Shams met Rajaram Ghag, a wheelchairuser swimmer who swam the English Channel in 1988. He said, “I used to swim as a child and Rajaram Sir gave me the confidence to take on the challenge of swimming even as a paraplegic person.” Having gained the confidence in the water, he went on to conquer bigger pools. From 2012 onwards, Shams started swimming competitively and went on to win several State Silver and Bronze Medals in Free Style and Back Stroke , and as well as national competitions.
Shams was an International medalist in Para Swimming and holds the world record in Longest Open Sea Swimming by Paraplegic person. In addition to this, he is also featured in the Limca Book of World Records. Shams has represented India in Asian Para Games Jakarta Indonesia 2018.
Apart from the continuous excelling in the Swimming field , Shams also picked up an interest in his earlier love for Karate. He now practices Wheelchair Karate.
Shams has been braving all odds right from the time he was on his bed contemplating about his future. He did his MBA in Chennai, and his family and friends were expecting him to now settle down with a nice job. But, Shams had already set his Goals very high. He was wanting to make a big mark in the field of swimming and he started putting his best effort and concentration on the practice.
Shams today laughs when he says His Dad used to ask him “Instead of going and looking for jobs , why are you going to the swimming pools to have a bath everyday “ ? In one award ceremony where he was being honoured , he had taken his Dad and his entire family. It was only then , his family understood how much he had practised. As an advice to the others he regularly says , don’t take a No or a Rejection as final. Keep continuing till you succeed. He quotes the example of how swimming pools were not permitting him to learn or practice.
Shams vision is still on for taking part and bringing Glory to the Nation in 2021 Paralympics Games at Tokyo, Japan , 2021 Madeira World Championshipand 2022 Asian Para Games China.
Shams now works as a Consultant, and is quite a busy person travelling all over delivering his speeches.
Though Shams is passionate about Sports , he encourages others to pursue their interests and excel in their fields.
On every platform Shams talks about the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities and the need for empowerment and inclusion. He is very happy that the University where he did his MBA listened to his requests for putting ramps in the entire campus , and today he says that there are more than ten students on wheelchair studying in that campus.
He is very keen on making the Society fully inclusive , where no one would be left behind just because of inaccessible campuses or surroundings.
Shams has delivered Motivational Speeches all over India in many Schools , Colleges and Corporate Offices.
He is a TedX speaker at-
TEDx Dharavi, Mumbai
His list of Awards & Recognition is very long one now –
· JIGAR AWARD from Paraplegic Foundation in 2013.
· KHEL SAMMAN 2016, 2017, 2018 from Art, Cultural & Youth Department Government of
· KHEL SAMMAN 2019 for International Category from Art, Cultural & Youth Department
Government of Bihar State.
· Karn Award International from Bihar Disabled Sports Academy in 2016, 2017,2019.
· State level award from department of social welfare govt. of Bihar 2017
· Jewel of Nation Award 2017
· Will Star Award from Nina foundation in 2017
· Receiver of the best outgoing student excellence award 2017 Sathaybama University
· Mr. Wheelchair India 2017, first runner up.
Inquilab Award 2017
· Youth Icon Award 2018
· The Shoor Veer Award 2018 by Ample Mission
Bihar Khel Ratana Award 2018.
Apart from The Awards and Recognition Shams was selected for Exchange Alumni Program
Best emerging leader in the world disability sports & sports diplomacy 2018 selected by U.S. department of state bureau of educational and cultural affairs for 5-week immersion global sports mentoring program 2018.
The latest Award and Recognition to his Credit is Titled “ Fastest Swimming by a Paraplegic Swimmer “ under India Book of Records 2021.
This record will feature in the upcoming India Book of Records
Shams is very active on the Social Networks .
Please do follow his Page and Blogs for more Information and Updates.
He runs a YouTube Channel where he interviews other inspiring persons. Please stay tuned to his interesting broadcasts
A pleasing personality , a good friend to many , always full of life , Shams says Believe in Yourself , Don’t ever think of giving up , and Believe ……………” It’s Possible “
Please do check on the links and follow