Making splash despite odds

Karnataka swimmer Raghavendra claims silver in 200M individual medley

Making splash despite odds

Born with legs inactive below knee, Raghavendra could have sat at home and rued his fate, but he instead chose to be different and take on the challenge life had thrown at him. Consequently, at the age of 14, he decided to join Aquaries Swimmers Club in Belgaum and with lot of encouragement from his parents and coach Umesh K he slowly learned the nuances of swimming.

It didn’t take Raghavendra too long to realise that life is more exciting than he thought. “Initially I was sad because I can’t move freely like others. Joining swimming was a learning process as to how to get rid of negative thoughts. There was lot of enjoyment for me from there on,” said Raghavendra, who finished second in the 200M individual medley at the Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre on Friday.  
However, the turning point in his career came two-years back at the IWAS Games in Chinese Taipei where he pocketed one gold, two silver and two bronze medals.  That gave me confidence that I could win medals. I won gold in 200IM, silver medals in 50 fly and 100 breaststroke while in the 400 freestyle and 4x100M relay I got bronze,” said the Belgaum athlete. He had also won 50 fly gold last year in the German Open swimming championship.

Raghavendra also attempted to cross the English Channel last year but forfeited after two hours 39 minutes swim.
“I fell unconscious after two hours of swimming and it took 45 minutes for me to get back to normal. I was lucky to get my life back,” said Raghavendra, who has now joined IGNOU to pursue his graduation in B.Com.
So what are his future plans? “I have started coaching children with disability at Aquaries. I like to compete as long as I can.   “My dream is to compete in 2012 London Paralympics and win a medal for the country,” he signed off.

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