Paraplegic IAF officer wins gold medals at swimming meet
Wing Commander Shantanu, an officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF), struck gold at a recent state-level swimming competition held by the Paralympics Swimming Association of Maharashtra.
Shantanu won two gold medals, in 50m freestyle and 50m back stroke events with an impressive timing of 1.32 minutes and 1.30 minutes respectively.
The 39-year-old IAF officer was left paraplegic in a road accident in West Bengal, where he was posted. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the Military Hospital in Kirkee. Shantanu was paralyzed below the chest due to a spinal cord injury. He fell from the bike into a roadside ditch. He was unconscious for almost two months after he was operated upon.
Shantanu, who uses a wheelchair, says he was depressed after the accident and took a while to recover from what had happened. With regular exercise, his confidence improved and he started swimming seriously.
Initially he could swim only for a few minutes, but with time he improved tremendously. He is now training for the national swimming championship next year.