Nothing is impossible with hard work and dedication. Saying that, the best possible example that comes to mind is that of Sangram Singh, alias Sanjeet Kumar Dangi. He is a well known celebrity today, not only in India but all over the world. He is a professional wrestler, a reality TV and Bollywood star, a motivational speaker and the brand ambassador of many social awareness campaigns. Hearing the name Sangram Singh, the first thing that comes to mind is that of a muscular, tall and strong, confident man. But who would have known that he was a premature child diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis that had him confined to a wheelchair for 8 years during his childhood.
Born in a village in Rohtak, Haryana, his father was a retired army soldier while his mother was a simple homemaker. Diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 3, people laughed at his ambition of becoming a professional wrestler. But wheelchair bound Sangram was not ready to give up. Coming from a humble family, he underwent continuous therapy sessions at home with sheer grit and determination. His paralysis had never undaunted him into changing his ambition.
Sangram recalls, “I started very small; moving my feet, standing up, undergoing severe therapy sessions at home and finally entering the arena to fight. I have had a tough life, but I am proud that I fought my battle.”
Emerging triumphant from his battle against paralysis, Sangram joined the Delhi police and that is when his wrestling career started in 1999. He was awarded the title World’s Best Professional Wrestler by World Wrestling Professionals, after a match in South Africa in 2012 for his style, stamina and nature of wrestling. It was during this fight that he nearly died – his opponent was on him for 10 minutes and he nearly suffocated. He was named Brand Ambassador for the Wrestling Federation of India for 2014. Sangram went on to win the Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship in July, 2015, after defeating Joe E. legend in the Last Man Standing fight in Port Elizabeth. Sangram was felicitated for his Commonwealth victory by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi himself in Delhi.
Sangram kept the Commonwealth belt in India in 2016 as well by defeating South African wrestler Ananzi and winning the title for the second time in March, 2016.
Winning the hearts of all Indians and making them proud, Sangram then shifted to his second goal in life – serving and giving back to the society. Sangram has been involved in social service and conducts various motivational talks for corporate companies. He motivates youngsters at schools and colleges by sharing his life journey, thus being a real life motivational coach. He is closely working with Maneka Gandhi for Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre and People For Animals (PFA) as their Brand Ambassador.
Inspired by his success story, the Indian Army chose him as a motivational speaker for the jawans.
Sangram Singh Foundation organized the 1st Wrestling Awards to felicitate and honor the forgotten heroes from wrestling who had won individual medals for India over the years on 16 September 2017 in New Delhi. We consider this a great initiative by the foundation headed by Sangram Singh who feels that it’s his time to give back to the games that gave him so much.
Sangram shared his fitness mantra with Actress Raveena Tandon on her television chat show Simply Baatein. Sangram also featured in Hrithik Roshan and Discovery India television show – HRX Heroes, depicting stories of real life heroes. He is also preparing himself for the role of Dara Singh in a Punjabi biopic.
The efforts made by Sangram Singh to promote wrestling as well as bring fame to India in the championship games are invaluable and of immense value and source of encouragement for the coming generations.
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