Visually impaired swimmer Kanchanmala Pande scripted history on Thursday by becoming the first Indian to win gold at the World Para Swimming Championship, taking place in Mexico.
Pande, who works with Reserve Bank of India (RBI), stood first in the in 200 meters medley event in S-11 category. After the win, Pande said that even though she was expecting a medal at the Championship, the top-finish came as a surprise. She was quoted by Times of India as saying, “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.”
Back in July, Pande, who was participating in the Para Swimming Championships in Germany, was left with no option but to beg in Berlin after the government money sanctioned for her tour did not reach her. Despite the odds, Pande ended up winning silver and qualifying for the World Championships.
Pande, who missed the podium finish in 100m freestyle by a whisker, was the only Indian swimmer to qualify in the women’s category. She was also the fifth fastest in 100 meters breaststroke and backstroke.