HomeKreedOn CandidsIndomitable Kanchanmala Pande fights against the odds and returns to the pool...

Indomitable Kanchanmala Pande fights against the odds and returns to the pool with gold

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Introduction

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Kanchanmala Pande is a blind international female swimmer from Nagpur. Having started swimming at the age of 10, Kanchanmala in her last 22-year swimming career has clinched nearly 120 medals including international, national, and state-level competitions. The statistics show that out of these 120 medals, the 32-year-old swimmer has clinched 114 gold medals, 5 silver medals, and a bronze medal including the historic gold medal in the 200-meter medley in the World Para-Championship in Mexico in 2017. She also has been bestowed with many awards from different institutions including a few majors like Eklavya Krida Puraskar, awarded by the Maharashtra state government, The National award for Persons with Disabilities in the best sports person category from the central government, and Outstanding Sportsman Special Award from Indian Blind Sports Association.

The Glorious Comeback of Kanchanmala Pande

Kanchanmala who is a class-1officer in the Reserve Bank of India had to take off from the pool for almost two years. She was pregnant and could not continue swimming. She missed the Tokyo Summer Olympics, held in 2021. Then Covid-19 came and the lockdown grasped all over the country. So, Kanchanmala could resume training after a gap of six months after her maternity and After coming back from the 2-year sabbatical Kanchanmala returned with a bang, clinching three gold medals in S-11 events (100-meter freestyle, 100-meter-backstroke, and 100-meter breaststroke) of national swimming championship, held in Udaipur in Rajasthan.

Kanchanmala Pande: Fighting against Odds

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It was very tough, and also very painful for the swimmer to swim within a gap of only six months after maternity. Speaking from Nagpur over the phone, Kanchanmala said,

“I was having pain in my cyst. I used to take pain-killer medicines and swim. I was just waiting for the doctor’s nod. The doctor initially forbade me to resume swimming. But I did not listen and resumed training after six months.”

Besides, due to the lockdown, all the swimming pools were shut down and Kanchanmala had to swim in the open pool. It also became quite difficult as blind swimmers cannot get directions in the open pools.

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Kanchanmala Pande said-

“My husband, Vinod, helped me a lot. I would not have regained the confidence of resuming training if Vinod had not tendered immense support. Due to Vinod, I did not find it difficult to get directions while swimming in the open pool.” According to Kanchanmala, her husband always gives her tremendous support. She admitted, “I doubt whether I would have been able to be back in the mainstream of the game, even looking after my 14-month son if Vinod had not given me the support.”


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The Motivation Part

Kanchanmala Pande revealed, during the two-year sabbatical, she did not need motivation as such. Mary Kom’s determination to return to the rings even after giving birth to a child has been an inspiration to Kanchanlmala. But resuming swimming itself had motivated her. Kanchanmala said,

“Swimming has been everything. I cannot live without swimming. When I was not able to swim during the two years, I often lost my temper and wrangled with my people unnecessarily. The scenario changed completely once I resumed swimming.”

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The Plans of Kanchanmala Pande

Kanchanmala Pande is presently training under ASCA level-5 coach Vishal Chandurkar at Nagpur. She informed me she will be taking part in the forthcoming national championship, to be held in Assam this month mainly to ensure qualification for the World Championship and Asian Games next year. Then she is planning to participate in a couple of competitions next year in Australia, Germany, and the USA. That will be prepared for the World Championship next year as well as for the Paris Olympics in 2024.

The Dream and Desire for Future

Kanchanmala Pande has the obvious dream of standing on the podium in the Paris Olympics. But at the same time, she has some plans for the future. After she says goodbye to swimming Kanchanmala wants to promote blind swimmers in the future. She explained,

“I can start it from Nagpur, promoting the blind swimmers. I am already associated with two educational institutions where I try to help, promote them. Now, I have plans that once after I say goodbye to swimming I can do something constructive for the game.” 


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