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Unfazed by her disability, she carved niche for herself
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Unfazed by her disability, she carved niche for herself

Meet India’s first female Para Rower from J&K , a bronze winner in Asian championship

Post by Arvind Sharma on Monday, January 2, 2023

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Jammu, January 1: It is a matter of pride for JK UT that Kritika Khanna, India's first female para rower, comes from Jammu & Kashmir. Kritika's goal in the Paralympics is to bring home a gold medal for her country.
Kritika has already given honour to the country and J&K by winning bronze in the Asian Para Rowing Championships in South Korea.
"We won a bronze medal at the Asian Para Rowing Championships in South Korea in 2019 and qualified to represent India in the Paralympics," Kritika told Rising Kashmir.
"It was sad that the Covid-19 epidemic played spoilsport and the Paralympics were not held," she remarked.
"Our team of four rowers (2 men and two females) was India's first batch of Para Rowing," she said.
In a tragic accident in 2003, the 38-year-old Kritika lost her right leg, resulting in an above-knee amputation.
"In 2003, my buddies and I were scheduled to take the class 12th examination. We were riding a scooty when our scooty suddenly turned turtle near the Asia Hotel in Jammu. "A vehicle came up behind me and crushed my right leg," Kritika told Rising Kashmir.
She said that her friend, who was driving, escaped unharmed.However, Kritika, unfazed by her disability and with a never-say-die mentality, remained determined to carve out a niche for herself.With 80% disability, Kritika started to work on her fitness. She also shared her videos on social media so as to inspire others, especially the people suffering with disabilities.
What prompted Kritika to take up her passion of rowing is also an interesting story which clearly establishes that hard work never goes unrewarded.
“Col Gourav Dutta, who is associated with the Rowing Federation of India, had come across my uploaded videos on social media platforms and contacted me in 2018,” she said.
Pertinent to mention, The Rowing Federation of India had been for many years looking for a female para rower which could be the first female to do so for the country.
“Col Dutta encouraged me to become the first female para rower of India,” Kritika said.
Adding, “I gave my consent and started training in June 2019”.
Kritika and her 3 other team members underwent rigorous training for 45 days in Pune, Maharashtra.
At the same time ,The Asian Championship for Para Rowing was held in South Korea in October 2019.
“We won the bronze medal while we missed the Silver by just a whisker,” Kritika said adding, “It was Diwali on that day and therefore the medal was a great Diwali gift not only for me but for J&K and India as well”. Kritika said.
She further says, “Now, we are preparing for Paralympics and I want to bring a gold medal for the country”.
The Rowing Federation of India has now forwarded Kritika Khanna’s name to the J & K Government for State Awards.
The artificial limb being used by Kritika is made by a German based company which costs in between Rs 10-12 lakhs and needs to be changed after every 5 to 6 years. Besides, the maintenance also costs around Rs 1 lakh during this period of 5 to 6 years.
This artificial limb is being fixed at Delhi. “This is very expensive and I often think about the specially-abled people who can not afford it,” Kritika said with a very heavy heart.
Kritika now works at J&K Grameen Bank Jammu’s Channi Himmat branch and is preparing hard for Paralympics. Her father is a retired Chief Education Officer (CEO). She also wants to encourage and be an inspiration for those with disabilities while asking them to follow their dreams and ‘never say die spirit’.

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