Manikandan Kumar, a polio-affected sport climber from Bangalore, has won gold in the IFSC Para World Championship held in Paris, France, on Friday. This is India’s first gold medal in any category of sport climbing. The polio-affected Manikandan overcame the challenge of 22 other competitors to claim gold, ahead of Andras Szijarto of Hungary (silver) and Mathieu Besnard of France (bronze).
In an email sent on Saturday, Manikandan said: “This is the first ever World Championship gold medal which India has ever won and I am really happy to be the man who won the gold medal for my country. Standing on the podium was the best thing while the national anthem played. It felt great to stand on the podium as a world champion and I fulfilled my dream to become a world champion after ten long years. Going into finals was the best thing that ever could happen to me and there are no words to describe how it was.”
Manikandan trains at the sport climbing wall run by the General Thimayya National Academy of Adventure (GETHNAA) at Kanteerava Stadium. His trip to France was sponsored by GETHNAA and a few friends.
You can watch the video of Kumar winning the World Championships right here: