In a world that is often discriminatory to persons battling disabilities, Bhutanese paralympic shot putter Chimi Dema has transcended these stereotypes against all odds. Chimi is hailed by her coaches as one of the consistently performing and promising athletes today. In this story, we look at how sports changed the course of Chimi’s life, giving her a new lease of life.
“It has been around 6 years since I got into para-sports. I have been training actively so far. I got the chance to enter the world of sports when one of my relatives told me to join the Bhutan Paralympic Committee in 2018. And this decision changed the course of my life drastically,” said Chimi.
However, the athlete had a rough start to her life. Due to her short stature, she could only start her education at the age of nine. Chimi is from Monggar and has three siblings. She did most of her primary schooling in Monggar and completed class XII in Thimphu in 2015.
After her studies, she took IT courses and joined a private firm. Because of her condition, she had to discontinue her job. That’s when she considered becoming a para athlete. Today she’s a paralympian but it was not all easy for Chimi due to her late entry into the sport. She was 25 when she decided to become an athlete.
Chimi said, “Since I did not play sports when I was young, I am not able to perform as well as others. I am also not able to learn as fast as others. I initially thought I would not be able to play the shot put since I had never heard of the sport. But now, I can perform well. I think it all because of my interest and dedication.”
She won a silver medal in shot put at the fifth Indian Open Para Athletics International Championship in Bengaluru last year which is the highlight of her career. She also beat her personal best with the win.
According to the Bhutan Paralympic Committee, Chimi Dema is the first Bhutanese female Paralympian to compete in the Paralympic Games. She competed in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
The 33-year-old shot putter made her international debut in 2019 at the Beijing Grand Prix and participated in the Dubai World Para Athletics Championship in the same year.
It is in the world of athletics that Chimi has found her true calling. She says sports became not just a means of physical activity but a powerful tool for empowerment and self-discovery.
The silver medalist says she wants to continue playing the sport, inspiring and empowering individuals like her.
Edited by Kipchu