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Ashoka University Student Wins Gold at Para Swimming Nationals

Roshni Patra, a visually challenged student, had participated in the 50 metres freestyle event

Office of PR & Communications

2 April, 2024 | 5m read

Roshni Patra, a first year (UG 2023) psychology student at Ashoka University, has won the gold medal in 50 metres freestyle category at the 23rd National Para Swimming Championship, held on 30th March 2024. Hailing from Mumbai, she represented the state of Maharashtra at the event.

Roshni is an athlete with visual impairment. Her condition was diagnosed soon after birth. Earlier, she had low vision, was able to read large fonts till grade-3. However, her vision continued to deteriorate gradually with age.

Reflecting on her journey, Roshni said, “Swimming can be difficult for a visually challenged person. For instance, you are always risk-prone to hit your head or other body parts on the pool walls. I was initially afraid of entering water. However, I was motivated to start in 2017, with the incentive to work on my physical fitness.” A serial winner, she has won several accolades for Maharashtra, which includes total eight gold medals across four national championships held so far.

“Roshni’s victory sets an example for all of us, what we can achieve with dedication and sheer hard-work. Having seen her practice tirelessly, despite obstacles, I can share that her accomplishments are not surprising to those who know her personally,” said her coach Kiran Pathak.

Advocating for improvements in support provided to students with special needs, Roshni stated, “Right from a young age, individuals with special needs face difficulties. Many schools even decline to admit them. Further, female athletes with visual impairments find it difficult to get good coaches, as most trainers are male and the training requires guidance through physical touch. That way, I am thankful to my parents for helping me attain quality education. I am also thankful to my coach, school and university for providing me with the required support. I hope every individual in the country is able to get these opportunities.”

Ashoka University campus is designed to accommodate the needs of students with special needs, including visual impairments. It has braille signage, highlighted uneven areas for those with low vision, accessible washrooms and dorm rooms, audio-enabled elevators, dedicated trainers for sports and gym activities, and accessible classrooms and learning content. In addition, the university has introduced a newly built mobile application, as well as has campus buddies, helpers and mobility training sessions to aid students with campus navigation. “I am grateful to Ashoka for providing me with a scholarship, and enabling faculty and infrastructure to pursue my aspirations,” said Roshni.

Sharing his thoughts on the achievement, Somak Raychaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University said, “We are filled with pride at Roshni’s incredible feat. Besides being an excellent swimmer, she is also a very skilled chess player, singer, composer and voice artist. Her journey is a testament to the triumph of human will over the hurdles of life. At Ashoka, as a community, we strongly believe in providing all our students with the right platform to tap their potential, and Roshni represents the best of us.”

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