Sangram Singh… from childhood arthritis to international wrestler

Sangram 2Best known for his success in the wrestling arena, Sangram Singh had a difficult start in life due to a diagnosis of arthritis as a child. He shares his story exclusively with Iona Walton from Arthritis Digest magazine

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when just three years old and unfortunately did not respond well to medication. Back then in India there were fewer facilities for physiotherapy so it was a hard time and I spent eight years in a wheelchair.
My father worked for the government and my mother looked after me and my older brother and sister. I had been premature and was always weak in comparison to other children. My sister and my mother were very supportive and were with me throughout my treatment but my “friends” used to make fun of me because of arthritis.
The region of India where I’m from – Rohtak in Haryana – is a place where there are many wrestlers and my older brother became one. Watching them gave me motivation… and I began to dream of joining them, even when I was very unwell.
I started with Ayurvedic medicine, a system of Hindu traditional medicine that incorporates herbal medicine and massage, and began to recover when I was 11 years old.
My first job was with the Delhi police but I soon began to focus on wrestling and was awarded the World’s Best Professional Wrestler title by World Wrestling Professionals, South Africa in 2012.
Wrestling is my passion and will always be with me. I am extremely healthy, have a vegetarian diet and work out three times a day. I do not worry about arthritis recurring in the future and am a great believer in positive thinking.
I’m at an exciting point in my career as am working on acting as a way of promoting wrestling more widely. My ethos is to eat healthily, think positive and be happy.

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