Hailing from Nagpur, Indian impaired swimmer Kanchanmala Pande scripted history for India on Thursday – as she became the first Indian ever, to win a gold at World Para Swimming Championship held in Mexico this year.
Visually impaired swimmer Kanchanmala Pande created visually strong ripples in the pool during the 200-metres medley event in S-11 category of World Para Swimming Championship in Mexico – to win the first gold medal for her country. 26-year-old Pande works with the Reserved Bank of India in Nagpur, 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. But this feat didn’t come easily for Pande, as she was forced to borrow money to participate in Berlin event and was fined for travelling without a ticket on public transport after she was not provided enough money by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
Despite the hurdles, there was no stopping for Pande and she brought home a shining silver medal at Berlin and qualify for the World Championship. Originally from Amravati, Pande is a regular swimmer of Aqua Sports Club, Nagpur and was trained by NIS coach Pravin Lamkhade, ASCA Level -1 Coach from the city Vishal Chandurkar and assistant coach Shashikant Chande. With absolute support from her husband Vinod Dekhmukh, her coaches back in India and her physiotherapist.
On Thursday, after winning the gold medal at World Para Swimming Championship, Mexico, Pande said that even though she was expecting a medal at the Championship, the top-finish came as a surprise. She said, “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.”. Apart from the gold, she successfully 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) in Berlin.