Manikandan Kumar, aka Mani Rogers, is India’s first world Para-climbing Champion, a feat for anyone in India, where recognition for outdoor activities and sports is a rarity. However, in the case of Mani Rogers, this was taken a step further. Apart from breaking the norm, this young 28-year-old has also broken his handicap. Stricken with polio from a very young age, Mani refused to let his handicap come in the way of his dream.
He went ahead to put India in the world climbing map when he won the gold in the World Para-climbing Championship in 2012. He also has consequently won the silver in the World Para-climbing Championship in 2013, twice in France and London. Last year, he won the silver thrice the World Para-climbing Championship in Austria, Gijon Spain and Sheffield London.
Mani comes from a humble background; his father is a carpenter and mother is a homemaker. For Mani, education was not something he was very interested in, but he would participate in most of the sports events and activities. One day, he happened to tried a rock climbing wall, and realised he loved the sport.