Visually impaired swimmer Kanchanmala Pande scripted history on Thursday as she became the first Indian to win gold at the World Para Swimming Championship, taking place in Mexico.
Pande 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.
“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 was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
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.
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 where 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.