Spocial Revolution : Supriya Mondal swims into history books

A National level swimmer and a prospective nomination for 2016 Olympics in Rio, Supriya Mondal has been shuttling from school in Shahpur to swimming pools in Bangalore.


A National level swimmer and a prospective nomination for 2016 Olympics in Rio, Supriya Mondal has been shuttling from school in Shahpur to swimming pools in Bangalore.

supriya mondal

From swimming in a pond in a village to reaching the 50×25 metre swimming pool, Supriya Mondal’s story is one of those many people who have established his presence in sports in India despite their everyday tryst with poverty.

The son of a fisherman from the hinterlands of West Bengal, he is now a student of 11th grade from a school in Shahpur, West Bengal; a crucial period for him. Looking through a catalogue of his pictures, there is a clear transition from a frail, skeletal built boy 5 years back to a muscular, well-built adolescent, but still retaining a shy smile. Being a national-level swimmer and a prospective nomination for 2016 Olympics in Rio, he has been shuttling between his school in Shahpur to swimming pool in Bangalore.

As a child, Supriya would watch people swimming in the pond close to his house, and developed a connection with swimming since then. Starting with exploring the perimeters of the pond, Supriya’s talent did not go unnoticed. His mentor, Sajib Chakraborty, a well-known sprinter and husband of the famous Bula Choudary, channelled Supriya’s skills and honed his talent, teaching him the rules of professional swimming to take part in championships.

After about 3 years training under Sanjib, Supriya won two golds and a silver in the Junior National Championship in Goa in 2009. “People in my village would wait for the results. My principal gives me time for practice, but he also makes sure I am back for the exams. Next stop is the Olympics and there is no looking back.”

Being approached by GoSports has been a huge turn in Supriya’s life and he enjoys the PACE scholarship he received. It takes care of all the travel and essentials during the training, without which, reaching the Olympics would only be a remote dream. He says his coach, Nihar Ahmed, and his fellow swimmers, Virdhawal Khade and Sandeep Sejwal who have represented India in the Olympics are people he looks up to. He happily recalls the days in his village when swimming was a random part of the everyday schedule: “As soon as I wake up at 5:30 AM, I jump into the pond, after I eat I jump into the pond, after school I jump into the pond and stay there till dark.”

As it is every sports person, he too has fit himself into the groove of a rigid structure. Every mistake made during the training is noticed and corrected. “In the last one year, I have become 9 seconds faster in Individual Medley. I’ll be playing from the senior level next year in the international level.”

As with every adolescent’s great confusion about the future, Supriya too is a victim. But he believes that opportunities don’t come to everybody, and not every day does one gets to meet people brimming with charisma. For him, swimming as a way to get over poverty was just one aspect of it, but that is not what drives him to do better. “Swimming is just something I like. I only have one goal and that is to only engrave his name in the history of sports.”


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Passionate about literature, curious about art, worried about media. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Passionate about literature, curious about art, worried about media. more

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