Student with cerebral palsy launches book

Student Hitesh Ramchandani, 23, can run 2.4km in less than 11 minutes.

This is no easy feat, considering that he has cerebral palsy and is unable to control some of his muscles.

Thanks to his determination, family support and countless therapy and training sessions, he has not only ditched the wheelchair, but also represented Singapore at the Asian Paralympic Games.

His journey of grit and hard work is detailed in Better Than Normal, an autobiography that was launched yesterday.

Mr Ramchandani, who is pursuing a foundation degree in sports science at PSB Academy, said: "The best way to send out a message is through a book, and I hope my story will inspire people to motivate themselves."

A mistake made when Mr Ramchandani was delivered had left him with cerebral palsy.

As a baby, he could not crawl or lift his head. He also struggled to hold a bottle in his hands and stand upright as a child.

Still, his parents were determined to make sure that he would not be written off as disabled. Mr Ganesh Ramchandani, 53, the managing director of a coal mining company, said: "My wife was determined he would be normal. We would take him out to eat in public like other families, and she would not let others pity our son."

The younger Ramchandani, who has a younger sister, did not let his condition set him apart.

At Haig Boys' Primary School, he let go of the wheelchair, slowly going up the stairs to class by holding onto the railings.

With therapy that helped build up his muscles, he could walk without crutches, albeit slowly.

At Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), he became more aware of his condition. "It was a time when my friends sometimes felt embarrassed about being with me, while others were starting to have girlfriends," he said.

It was during his teens that he took up kickboxing and football. He has since represented Singapore in football, at the 7th ASEAN Para Games in Myanmar and the Incheon Asian Para Games, both held last year.

Today, he gives regular motivational speeches at clubs like Toastmasters Club of Singapore.

While the book is a dream come true, he is not stopping at that. "I want to conquer my fear of public speaking and become an international motivational speaker next," he said.

His parents used to worry about what would happen to him. "But we're not worried already," his father said. "He's 100 per cent independent now."

The book costs $15 a copy. Those interested can e-mail

This article was first published on April 18, 2015.
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