Nagpur’s Kanchanmala becomes first Indian to win gold at World Para Swimming ChampionshipDecember 8, 2017, Nagpur
NAGPUR: City’s visually impaired swimmer Kanchanmala Pande scripted history for India on Thursday. Kanchanmala became the first Indian to win the gold medal in the World Para Swimming Championship.
She created ripples in the ongoing championship in Mexico and secured the top spot in 200 meters medley event in S-11 category. Kanchanmala, who works with Reserve Bank of India (RBI), was expecting a medal at Mexico but a gold medal was totally unexpected.
“I had prepared well for the World Championship. I was expecting a good show in Mexico and also a medal. But, securing the top position and a gold medal at world championship is surprising. I am really very happy. At the same time, I don’t know how to express it in words,” Kanchanmala, who works with Reserve Bank of India (RBI), told TOI after winning the medal.
Kanchanmala, the only Indian swimmer to qualify in the women’s category, was unfortunate to miss the podium finish in other events. She missed the top three finish by a whisker in 100 meters freestyle and finished fourth. She was fifth fastest in 100 meters breaststroke and backstroke.
The 26-year-old, was selected in the Indian squad on the basis of her excellent performance at the IDM Berlin Para Swimming Championship held in July at Berlin, Germany. During the Berlin event, she was forced to borrow money and was fined for travelling without a ticket on public transport after she was not given enough money by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
But the incident leading to the event, failed to affect her determination and she won a silver medal in 200m individual medley. Kanchanmala qualified for the World Championships in Mexico after she beat the qualifying mark in 100m Freestyle (1:34:00), 100m Backstroke (1:41:00), 100m Breaststroke (2:01:00) and a silver 200m Individual Medley (3:03:00) against top para-athletes in Berlin.
Kanchanmala, who hails from Amravati, is a regular swimmer of Aqua Sports Club, Nagpur. She has been training under the able guidance of NIS coach Pravin Lamkhade, ASCA Level -1 Coach from the city Vishal Chandurkar and assistant coach Shashikant Chande.
Kanchanmala has a tremendous support of her husband Vinod Dekhmukh, who always supports her in each of her endeavour. The swimmer thanked RBI, Nagpur; Sport Ministry of India, Sports Authority of India (SAI); Paralympic Committee of India (PCI); GoSports and well wishers.
Renowned physician Dr. PK Deshpande, fitness trainer Sachin Deshmukh & physiotherapist Dr. Kevin Agrawal specially worked on Kanchanmala’s health & Fitness before the world Championship.