Visually-impaired, she refused
to be branded as blind. Now she’s a sports champ
Jyoti Maggu aspires
to become a journalist. She is the sports president of Lady Shriram College
(LSR), New Delhi, an all-rounder in sports. She is a sprinter and has
been training and participating in the 100m, 200m and 400m events, besides
the long jump. Last year, Jyoti participated in the second World Championships
for visually impaired in Canada. She has walked a long way at 23. And
it’s because of sheer talent and guts. Jyoti is 90 percent blind
and she won’t allow this ‘fatedness’ to stop her life’s
Jyoti, doing her Bachelors’
in Journalism from LSR, lost her sight when she was seven because of retina
pigmentation. The authorities compelled her to drop out of school. “It
seemed like everyone was conspiring to send me off to a blind school.
But I didn’t want to be called a disabled girl and I was adamant
about going to a normal school and do all the things that non-disabled
people do,” recalls Jyoti.
|‘It seemed like
conspiring to send me off to a blind school’
Even after the private
schools in Delhi refused her admission, Jyoti opted to sit at home for
three years rather than attend a special school. Her patience finally
led to hope when Bluebells School took her in. “I was determined
to shake off the tag of disabled,” says Jyoti. So she focused on
academics and scored 73 percent in her Class 12 board exams, with the
help of special interactive books, extra coaching and a bit of Braille.
That boosted her morale; she took up the challenge of proving herself
to the world.
The turning point,
says Jyoti, was her admission to LSR, via the disability quota. “The
cut-off percentage that year was 79 percent for journalism but I got in
with just 73 percent because of my achievements in sports,” she
says. She then became the sports president of the college.
“I like to
concentrate on athletics. With poor vision, I can’t take part in
all games. But sports is one way of mixing with colleagues and knowing
them better. Sports is recreational and I enjoy it. It teaches me the
lessons of life: how to run and jump obstacles.”