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For Dr Poonia, it’s country above all
Aditi Chakravarti  New Delhi | 5th Oct 2013

Surendra Poonia

r Major Surendra Poonia is a man of many talents. Apart from being a decorated army officer, a physician and motivational speaker, he is also an excellent sportsman.

Born to a farmer family in Rajasthan, Dr Poonia began his sojourn into the sports world with local games like khokho and kabaddi. Even though his talent was obvious, the small district of Sikar in Rajastan offered no affordable facilities to hone his skills. It was only at the Arms Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune that his versatility was truly recognised and polished. At AFMC, the senior army coaches inspired him to take up long distance running. The International world of sports, however, beckoned unexpectedly.

"My roommate at AFMC, who is currently a doctor in UK, told me about the World Medical Games. When he asked me to participate, at first I laughed it off but he kept insisting. I finally decided to give it a try." he said.

In 2010, Dr Poonia became the first Indian sportsman to have won three medals at the Games held in Croatia. In the subsequent years, he outdid himself with the latest record of being the first Indian athlete to have won consecutive gold medals in power lifting, three years in a row!

Dr Poonia, 35, has served with the Indian Army since 2001. Throughout his military career he has served in areas of highest distinction like the Parachute Regiment and the President's Bodyguard (PBG), which is the only para-cavalry regiment in the world. He has also served in the United Nation's Peacekeeping Mission at DRC (Congo) for a year.

In September 2012, Dr Poonia applied for premature retirement from the armed forces to pursue his ambitions of becoming a motivational speaker in order to encourage a healthy lifestyle amongst the nation's youth through the combination of his varied experiences.

"I believe that by taking up this new role I am, once again, in the service of the nation," Dr Poonia said.

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