Girl with Down syndrome is a swimming champion

on Sunday, November 20, 2011


Bhopal: A 12-year old swimming champion from Bhopal, Ira Parihar, has accomplished what most swimmers have not even attempted, despite suffering from Down syndrome.

Ira Parihar has been swimming since she was 3-year old. 
 At the age of 8 she crossed the breadth of Bhopal's Historic Upper Lake. This is nothing unusual, except that Parihar has Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder associated with learning disabilities. Now, the 12-year-old can swim for hours without showing any sign of fatigue. And although she has clocked 1.5 km in a little less than 30 minutes, her love for the water keeps her away from the finish line.  

But coach Mukesh Mishra pushes her gently to move towards the bank when attempting a record.
"She finds it diffcilut to comprehend between start and finish. Otherwise she is as good as anyone," coach Mishra said. 

 Ira Parihar won two gold medals at the special state Olympics in Mandsaur in 2006. She also participated in the special national Olympics in Mumbai in 2007. Her mother Nishi Parihar who doubles up as her friend, coach and all-time companion has tried her best to instill discipline and perseverance in her child.

"The results are showing. Now we plan to double the distance and then we will increase it. After that we plan to take her to Narmada and then to the sea," her mother said. 

Familiarity is important for Parihar. She communicates mostly with her family members. Rarely does she ask for anything to eat, with her mother sometimes having to force-feed her. And when the water bird is not lapping up the waves, she is busy dancing away her child-like worries only to stop when someone starts watching her.

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