Imphal: Khundrakpam Pradipkumar, an HIV positive bodybuilder, recently won the title of 'Mr Manipur' in the 60 Kg category.
"I want to prove the worth of an HIV positive person," he said, adding that it was a dream victory for him with the support of a strong will power. 37-year-old Pradipkumar won the coveted title which is the dream of many young men.
Pradipkumar came to know about his HIV status only in 2000 but did not lose hope even when most of his friends, who had shared the needles with him, died long back.
"Every person believes that once you are infected with HIV, you will die. But this is not a fact. If you continue taking medicine on time and have healthy food, you can spend your life in a normal way. This is what I wanted to show to the people. That's why I began to play," he said.
Acting as a role model for the many in Manipur, which is among the top rankers among the states with HIV prevalence, induced by injections.
Unfortunately, during his growing up days only, he started using heroin and by 1987 he started injecting them, which pushed him in the clutches of deadly HIV.
"My happiness is beyond the words. I am very proud of my son. He is very brave and courageous but with only one mistake that he committed. He has been rendered helpless like an accident victim. But despite all odds, he has made it so far, for which as a mother my happiness knows no bounds," said Kh. Memma Devi, Pradipkumar's mother.
Pardipkumar got the third position in state-level wrestling championship in 1985 and won a gold medal in the state-level powerlifting championship in 1987.
Now, he is aiming to take part in the Mr India competition to be held at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh in March 2008 to cover another stair of success.