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Nisha Gupta (30-year-old): Success story of wheelchair bound para-athlete



Swimmer Nisha Gupta

This is an inspiring story about Nisha Gupta who was constricted to a wheelchair due to a spinal injury. Being injured and wheelchair-bound, Nisha Gupta did not give up on her dreams and today she has become an inspiration to many.

Today she is a well-known international basketball player. Success is not achieved overnight and some incidents change your life drastically. Nisha Gupta had a desire to become a model but her destiny was not the same. Even though she didn’t get a chance to model, she is a role model and inspiration for today’s youth and every person with a disability.

Nisha Gupta

Nisha Gupta

Nisha Gupta childhood days

In the early days, Nisha Gupta was an active child and never sat free. In her free time, she used to spend time with her brothers and friends. In her childhood days, an incident occurred that changed her life and brought her to the wheelchair. With her family, she visited her village. Along with her brothers, she climbed the mango tree to pluck the mangoes but unfortunately, she couldn’t balance and she slipped and fell on the ground resulting in a fracture in her spine.

During the interview, 32-year-old Nisha Gupta quoted, “I was only 18 years old and had just finished my board exams. At that age, I thought everything would be fine and I would get better like people do when they fracture their arm or leg. I did not realize then that I would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of my life”.

She had to undergo spinal cord surgery and was asked to rest at home. For 4 years she was confined to sitting at home, watching TV, eating, sleeping, and repeating. She was slowly moving into depression.

“People in my home state (Uttar Pradesh) had a very different point of view from me. I am a girl and one who got into an accident. They thought that my life was over and that I could not do anything now. Boys will be given help, but girls are treated as they can just stay at home and not do anything else,” Even the friends who supported her after injuring herself, moved on and she found herself alone.

Nonetheless, her family was unaware of the severe injury but couldn’t do anything much as they lacked the knowledge to deal with the problem.

Who might have thought, Nisha Gupta who represented India at international basketball matches and won medals for the country would have to face such problems in her early life. It’s just unimaginable.

Success Point of Nisha Gupta

Swimmer - Nisha Gupta

Swimmer – Nisha Gupta

Once Nisha attended an event organized by a Mumbai-based welfare organization named, Nina Foundation which worked for those people who sustained spinal injuries. It was Nina Foundation that brought life back to her as was depressed and felt dejected at home. She met many like her but her mentor, Oliver was the actual turning point of Nisha’s life. He brought confidence in her to be independent by encouraging her in every little thing.

Oliver, who also was in a wheelchair, encouraged Nisha to travel alone. While travelling in an auto or taxi, anyone can help us to get in and after reaching the destination, one can ask help to safely moving us out of the vehicle. Such small things motivated her and boosted her confidence.

In an interview when asked about Oliver, Nisha Gupta quoted, “It was Oliver who encouraged me to start building my strength and to participate in sports. He suggested I start swimming. It was when I signed up for a competition at the Dharavi Sports Club that I realized there are many people like me who are active in sports. I started swimming there regularly. Along the way, I developed an interest in basketball and started training regularly.”

Nisha Gupta’s Achievements

In 2015, Nisha secured a bronze medal in a Wheelchair basketball tournament.

Swimmer - Nisha Gupta

Swimmer – Nisha Gupta

  • She is 3-time gold and bronze medalist at the state level and national level in swimming respectively.
  • Secured 3rd position in a Wheelchair basketball tournament held in Bali in 2017.
  • She is an active member of the Maharashtra Women’s wheelchair basketball team.

Nisha Gupta’s Vision for para-athletes

On being asked about views on other para-athletes, Nisha Gupta quoted, “Para-athletes should be encouraged by other athletes. Equal respect and admiration should be given to both. Sports clubs should also encourage and motivate para-athletes and provide practice facilities for practice. The government should also support athletes in their decision to practice rigorously” as she feels para-athletes need more support.

Nisha Gupta has been very active and energetic since childhood. These days when she doesn’t play for the country, she does modeling. Since childhood, she wanted to make a career in modeling. Even though she was in a wheelchair, fulfilling her dreams was first always on the cards. Her inner gut feeling and never say any attitude opened many other opportunities too.

Sports gave her name and fame but Nisha Gupta didn’t stop here. She is an active member at Atypical Advantage, an organization that guides people with disabilities to find desirable jobs in the creative industry. She also manages photo shoots and fashion show events.

Success Mantra of Nisha Gupta

  • Accept the challenge and chase your dreams.
  • Take the initiative and paths will be formed.
  • If you have the inner will, then there will be people coming to support you.
  • People with disabilities should not stick at home. They should come out as many opportunities are waiting for them.