World Games, a coach from America came to me and took the event participants list and enquired about the participants from India. When he understood that I was the only one from India, he started scratching off my name from every event. I questioned him about what he was doing and he said ‘I have a huge contingent of 20 players. And I am scratching off the names of slow swimmers. This way, my team knows they have lesser number of people they are competing against.’ I became restless and asked him why he thinks I was a slow swimmer and his reply was ‘Asians are usually slow.’ I had nothing to tell him. I wished him luck and walked off.
3 days later, I had won 10 Medals of which 7 were gold and was crowned The Junior World Champion. There were participants, coaches, sponsors and a whole lot of people from 32 other countries giving a standing ovation and making way for India.
The same man came back and apologised and said, ‘I had to scratch out the names of my participants.’ There couldn’t have been a victory or an apology bigger” smiled Niranjan Mukund
“I was born with a condition because of which I was unable to stand or walk. I’ve undergone 16 major surgeries and when I was 5, my doctor suggested me to try Aqua therapy. Little did I know that from just another painful therapy to a way of life, swimming would change everything for me. I’ve been in love with water ever since”
Your story and your cheer is an inspiration to us and many. We wish you all the best for Olympics 2020!