The English Channel is one of the busiest stretches of open water in the world. Many swimmers have tried to navigate the 34km of sea from the south coast of Great Britain to the northern coast of France, but few have made it.
Satyendra was born in an under-privileged family in the year 1987 in a small village of district Bhind in Madhya Pradesh. 15 days after his birth, Satyendra was infected with Pneumonia. Improper medical care and reaction to medicines led to 60% of permanent disability in both his legs. His parents fought financial crisis to get him a primary education in the village
Satyendra developed a passion for swimming while he was still in school. He used to swim in a river in my village for hours. With time, going for a swim after my school became a daily routine for him. Because of his disability, people did not believe he could become a swimmer, but their discouragement is what made him focus on my goal more than ever. He decided to pursue his studies along with swimming,”
Under a very tough financial situation, Satendra completed his schooling, following which his father sold their land to send him to Gwalior for graduation and post-graduation.
Dr V.K. Dabas, head of the swimming department in Laxmibai National Institute of Physical Education, Gwalior. He saw a talent in Satyendra and began training him for the National Level Paralympic swimming competition. After a hectic schedule that he followed for a year while being trained under Dr. Dabas, Satyendra participated in his first national level competition: X-National Paralympics Swimming Championship, 2009, held in Kolkata. There, he won a bronze medal in Free Style swimming among 400 swimmers from across the country.
This was just the beginning of his journey, which is on till date with him as an international-level swimmer. Dr. Dabas has been a constant support in his life, and appreciated him wholeheartedly when he participated in Canada America Para International Swimming Championship held at Gatineau, Canada.
To develop his skills in today’s technologically advanced world, Satendra approached Shri P. Narahari, the then Collector (District Magistrate of Gwalior), who works for people with disability, and also for other weaker sections of the society. Having been a constant source of help and support to Satyendra, he provided him with a computer, assuring to be by his side whenever necessary. In 2011, Satyendra earned a Diploma certificate in his Computer Application Examination.
Satyendra went on to receive the highest sports award of Madhya Pradesh, which is the Vikram Award, from the Honourable Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, in Bhopal on in December 2014.
Among many of my recent achievements is my participation in Australia where I won the gold medal in three different categories of swimming, and also swimming a distance of 33 km in the Arabian Ocean in May 2017. In June 2018, I crossed the English Channel as part of a four-member para swimming team from India,” he said. Preparation for the same had begun a year back under the guidance of Mr. Roshan More (India’s first Ocean 7 swimmer and recipient of Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award).
Currently, he is training to swim the Catalina Channel in August 2019, along with a six-member Indian para relay team. Satyendra now work at the commercial tax department of the Madhya Pradesh government along with putting continuous effort at becoming a better swimmer.