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Saurya Chakra winner and former Marine commando, Parveen Teotia bared four bullets on November 2008 Mumbai terror attack, during the operation to neutralize terrorists. The bullets hit him on his lungs and in an ear, leaving him partially hearing impaired. This forced the Navy to give him the non-active duty job. Since then, to prove himself to be fit enough for the service, he began to participate in various marathons. And on 9th September, 2017, with a damaged lung, Parveen not only participated in the 72km long Khardung La marathon in Ladakh, but also bagged a medal for it.
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"After I was shot, doctors had given up on me. But I hung on for five months in the hospital and recovered, although my hearing was impaired”, said Teotia.
Not willing to take up the desk job, Parveen applied for a Navy mountaineering expedition, after being aware about the fact that he could be a commando again. But he was rejected on the terms of his medical condition. That is when he decided to prove that he was fit enough. He met marathon runner Pervin Batliwala, through supportive Taj hotel staff who encouraged him to start training for long-distance runs.
"I have met very few with such willpower. Finishing Khardung La is no child's play. I did it last year. The oxygen levels are low and it is doubly difficult for someone with a damaged lung. To do so well is a stupendous achievement," stated Parvin Batliwala.
Later, he began his marathon training in 2014. And in 2015, he participated in the Mumbai Half Marathon under a different name because he unpredicted the Navy’s reaction if he failed. In 2016, he ran in the Indian Navy Half Marathon. This year, in March he participated in one of the challenging marathon, the Half Iron Man Triathlon in Jaipur. The marathon involved 1.9km swim, 90km bicycling and 21km run. He finished the Khardung La Challenge on September 9th, after running at altitudes higher than 18,380 ft and finishing it in 12.5 hours. It was within the stipulated time of 14 hours, earning a medal.
Talking about his past, Teotia said, "The Navy was still not convinced I was fit enough, and I could not take many leaves for marathons. So I took voluntary retirement. I bear them no ill-will. They work according to the book and I was in a junior rank. But I wanted everyone to know I was the same man who went into the Taj hotel a commando. I had the right not to be forgotten.”
It was on July 31st, when he took the voluntary retirement now plans to participate in a full Iron Man Triathlon, and is looking for ways to fund it.
Source: Times of India