Today is indeed a very proud day for Nagpurkars. Kanchanmala Pande, city’s visually impaired swimmer made history yesterday by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in World para Swimming Championship.
Kanchanmala, who works with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), secured the top spot in 200 meters medley event in S-11 category, at the ongoing championship in Mexico. Pande says, she was expecting a medal, but a gold medal was something 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," she said after winning the gold medal.
The only Indian swimmer to qualify in the women’s category, Kanchanmala unfortunately missed the top three spots in the freestyle, breaststroke and the backstroke categories.
Pande, a resident of Amravati, qualified for the World Para Swimming Championship after she brought home a silver at the IDM Berlin Para Swimming Championship in July this year.
However, she had a tough time in Berlin. She wasn’t provided funds by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which was to sponsor her trip, and the accompanying officials did not give her money claiming their bank accounts were blocked.
As a result, she was forced to borrow money and was even fined for travelling without a ticket on public transport, as her coach had not given her a ticket even though it was his responsibility.
Pande thanked RBI, Nagpur; Sport Ministry of India, Sports Authority of India (SAI); Paralympic Committee of India (PCI); GoSports, her physio-staff and her well wishers for her victory. The swimmer also had a tremendous support of her husband Vinod Dekhmukh, who always back her in each of her venture.
Information and cover image source: timesofindia