“It's not often that adversity brings out the best in us. But there are exceptions and their stories of courage and determination, especially in the field of sports warms our heart and gives us hope, that with determination, we too can overcome. Mysuru’s Niranjan Mukundan is one such sporting hero, and his story is inspiring”.
Even sixteen operations including a spinal cord surgery didn’t stop 21-year-old Mysuru Ekalavya awardee M Niranjan Mukundan from swimming his way to success. Niranjan, born with clubfoot disability is making waves in Paralympic swimming competition not only at the national-level, but also at the international circuits as well.
In the recently concluded IWAS world games 2016 held at Czech Republic, Niranjan won three gold medals (50 mts butterfly, 50 mts breaststroke and 200 mts freestyle), two silver (100 mts butterfly and 50 mts ) and three bronze medals (100 mts butterfly and 50 mts).
All of these marvellous achievements fructified this year in the form of the Ekalavya Award along with monetary aid of Rs 3.5 lakh. Last year, he had won a cash prize of Rs 26 lakh for his feat too. Also last year, at the Junior World Games for Disabled in the Netherlands, Niranjan grabbed the Junior World Champion title after winning seven gold and three silver in ten swimming events.
Those close to Niranjan say that the initially, his parents decided to send him for swimming to strengthen his leg muscles, but when his Coach John Christopher noticed the boy's passion, he pushed him further and accept new challenges. Today, Niranjan is dominating the international paralympic swimming arena.
Though he had set his eyes on the Rio Olympics, it did not materialise due to a reclassification issue. “I had applied for reclassification from S8 to S7 but before the Rio Paralympics they are not coming out with re-classification due to which I will be missing the competition," says Niranjan, talking to Karnataka Today.
However, he says that his next major event would be qualifying for world swimming competition which is scheduled to be held in the month of December. "For this, in couple of months I will be going to Thailand for high performance training. To come out with a good performance we need at least six months of rigorous training. The world championship is expected to be held in the month of June or July next year” added Niranjan who completed B Com from Jain University with 83 percent.
He is also pursuing his MBA through distance education recognized by a University in US and he resides in Bengaluru.