Niranjan Mukandan is a 24-year-old para-swimmer from Bengaluru who has a condition known as Spina Bifida and clubbed feet by birth has won 5 gold medals at the Norwegian Swimming Championships 2019.
As per Mayo Clinic, ‘Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly.’ And clubfoot is a condition wherein the baby’s foot is twisted out of shape or position.
Rather than being a victim of his birth defects, Niranjan defied all odds and went on to become a swimmer.
As per Bangalore Mirror, he has had 17 surgeries to have both of his legs straightened up which had been twisted because of muscle compression. One of these surgeries took 16 hours long to get operated and the process was carried out when he was 6 years old. Shockingly, 32 metal rods were inserted in his legs during the surgery.
He had to undergo major surgery in December last year and was also put on complete bed rest for over 2 months. “We discovered the (ankle) injury pretty late, which unfortunately delayed the recovery process”, he was quoted to as saying by Bangalore Mirror.
He then wrote a success story for himself as he won 5 medals in the following championships: 200m IM (individual medley), 200m breaststroke, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke.
After proudly winning these medals for India at the Norwegian swimming championships, Niranjan crossed the 50 medals mark in his colourful career.
Niranjan also made the Forbes U30 list recently.
Niranjan had started swimming when he was 8 years old on his doctor’s suggestion to help with his lower body movements.
He started developing an interest in the sport and started to train for some tough competitions. He said, “If I am unable to train due to injury, I visualise myself in the pool swimming. I try not to lose focus and prepare myself mentally.”
As per Bangalore Mirror, Niranjan is a huge Rahul Dravid fan and also thinks of Michael Phelps as his biggest idol.
He is once again on an important mission to secure a gold medal for the country in Paralympics. For winning many competitions in his life, he has been conferred with the National Best Para Sportsperson Award in 2015 by the government of India.
He also received the Eklavya Award in the year 2016 from the Karnataka government for incredible performance in sports and in the same year awarded by the Sports Writer Association of Bangalore.
He also holds the Asian record for timing 03:16:01 in the Para Swimming World Series that was held Berlin in 2018.