When seven-year-old Krishna S. Kammath swam across the Periyar on Sunday, she not only defeated the incessant rain, a turbulent river and its swirling waters but also her own disability.

For a child who had to go under the knife when she was just four months old, it took Krishna just 25 minutes to cover the 200-metre stretch between Adwaithasramam and Manalppuram. She emerged from the waters to the applause from a large group of onlookers, including the principal of her school.

A second standard student of a school in Aluva, Krishna started learning swimming just a month-and-a-half before on her doctors’ advice.

“She had to undergo neuro surgery at the age of four months and physiotherapy on her left leg thereafter. Fierce dedication and pain staking hard work saw her mastering her innate skills and putting behind her deficiencies to triumph over all odds,” said Saji Valasseril, her coach. And it was not smooth sailing initially, as Krishna was unable to stand on her own in the water. But through intense training, she gradually strengthened the leg muscles and improved overall speed and efficiency, the coach said. For someone who had been giving training lessons to children for the past many years, it was never a risk to let the girl into the river. “I am acquainted with the length and breadth of this river,” he said.

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