Niranjan makes a big splash at IWAS pool

Niranjan makes a big splash at IWAS pool

While the State is still basking in the delight of six of its athletes achieving silverware at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, another gritty competitor has brought equal pride in tiding over several odds at the 10th IWAS World Junior Games in Stoke Mandeville, United Kingdom.

Niranjan M, who has been diagnosed with spina bifida (a congenital disorder that causes muscle compression), won eight medals out of nine events in the swimming competitions.

A sprinter, Niranjan bagged gold in 50M butterfly, 100M backstroke and 100M freestyle and silver each in 400M freestyle and 50M freestyle. He also won bronze medals in 200M freestyle, 200M individual medley and 100M breaststroke.

What makes his achievement special apart from the disorder where muscle compressions have rendered his right leg weaker than the left is that he suffered a terrible ligament tear just three months before the event in Old Blighty.

“The ligament tear happened on my weaker right leg,” the 20-year-old Niranjan told Deccan Herald. “I just couldn’t train for nearly a month and I thought my dream of competing at IWAS was over. But my folks and coaches at PM Swim Centre never gave up on me and motivated me.

“As soon as I recovered, I immediately hit the pool and trained really hard. I also underwent some strengthening exercises at We Fit gym in JP Nagar. All this helped me prepare well for the IWAS. I’m really thrilled with my performance and looking ahead for the Asian Games in Incheon,” added the final year BCom student of Jain College.

After being advised by doctors to take up either horse riding or swimming to strengthen his muscles, Niranjan chose the pool in 2003. Quickly spotted by coach John Christopher, Niranjan started competing in national championships from the following year and has been constantly raking in the medals.

He competed first internationally at the 2012 Berlin Swimming Championships where he won a 200M freestyle bronze while bagging four medals at last year’s IWAS World Junior Games.

Growing in stature, Niranjan touched a new level at Stoke Mandeville and is raring to make a bigger splash in events to come.