Teenager swims past his disabilities to break records

Jan 23, 2014, 22:57 IST | A Correspondent

Shubham Vanmali, the swimming star from Nerul, has worked hard to overcome his learning disabilities and is working to make a mark in the swimming world

Navi Mumbai: Raised in a family dedicated to sports, Shubham Vanmali is not only a brilliant swimmer, but has all the ambition and determination to achieve his goals.

Born to Swim: Shubham Vanmali is determined to break records in the coming months
Born to Swim: Shubham Vanmali is determined to break records in the coming months

The 17-year old boy hails from a modest family of sportsmen in Navi Mumbai; his father played volleyball and mother played kabbadi.

Shubham is currently training under Arti Pradhan, the renowned International swimmer and Arjuna Award winner who swam across the English Channel in 1987.

As any normal teenager, Shubham is pursuing his FYBMS from NCRD Sterling College, Nerul. However, unlike most teenagers, he suffers from learning disabilities like dyslexia (impaired ability to learn to read) and dysgraphia (impaired ability to learn to write).

Amazingly, not only has he overcome these difficulties, but has also developed his talent in swimming through sheer hard work and perseverance.

Shubham started swimming right from the young age of eight. During the course of his swimming career, he has participated and won medals in various senior state swimming competitions. In 2010, he entered the open sea swimming competition for the first time and stood sixth.

He also took part in the Open Navy Sea Swimming Competition in 2011 and secured the 4th position in the under-16 category and the 10th position in the 16-40-years category.

In August 2013, Shubham broke the 2004 record in the Intercollegiate Swimming Competition conducted by the University of Mumbai, winning the gold medal in 1500 metres.

Supportive parents
Shubham is passionate about swimming and practices three to four hours everyday. Although an average student owing to his learning disabilities, his parents have supported him throughout to pursue his love for swimming.

“I love swimming and feel that my goal is to encourage kids like me with learning disability. My coach and parents have helped me perform my best in international open sea swimming.

Their support and motivation has served me at every step of my swimming career.” Looking at the future, Shubham aims to break the world record of open sea swimming between Dharamtar and Gateway of India – a 35 km feat – by completing it within 10 hours.

Future plans
He has also set himself to break two challenging international records. He will attempt to create the Asian record by swimming one-way across the English Channel from England to France, on August 4 and 6.

Along with his sister Siddhi Vanmali (14), Shubham is also geared up to conquer the Strait of Gibraltar, from Spain to Africa, in a relay form.

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