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Updated: January 2, 2013 15:34 IST

Paddling her way to success

Staff Reporter
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Bincymol Babychan canoed her way to a silver medal in the 200-metre race and a bronze medal in 500-metre race at the first International Open Canoe Sprint Regatta Championship held at Samarqand city, Uzbekistan, from 18 to 22 October 2012.
Special Arrangement Bincymol Babychan canoed her way to a silver medal in the 200-metre race and a bronze medal in 500-metre race at the first International Open Canoe Sprint Regatta Championship held at Samarqand city, Uzbekistan, from 18 to 22 October 2012.

Her talent was spotted in 2006 by the authorities at Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Practice is the key to success in canoe racing,” said Bincymol Babychan who has done the nation proud through her achievements in the sport at the international level. A native of Alappuzha and the daughter of Babychan, a fisherman, and Leelamma, a farm worker, financial constraints did not deter her from cornering glory.

Defying the odds Bincymol canoed her way to a silver medal in the 200-metre race and a bronze medal in 500-metre race at the first International Open Canoe Sprint Regatta Championship held at Samarqand city, Uzbekistan, from 18 to 22 October 2012.

She also pocketed gold in the 500-metre contest at the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Sprint Championship held at Teheran, Iran, in 2011.

Bincymol’s parents had to borrow large sums of money to make sure she took part in international events. Bincymol justified the faith reposed in her by entering the final round of the 500-metre race at the ICF World Canoe Sprint Championship at Hungary in 2011. Bincymol and her partner Betty Joseph represented India at the event, which saw participants from 24 nations.

Bincymol has also won accolades at the national level. She won gold medals in 500 metres and 200 metres races at the National canoe sprint championship held in Bangalore in 2011, wrested gold medals in 500 and 200 metres at the All India Central Zone Championship held at Bhopal in 2012 and claimed a silver medal at the All India Raking Canoe Sprint West Zone Championship held at Udaipur in 2012.

Her talent was spotted in 2006 by the authorities at Sports Authority of India (SAI), Alappuzha, who selected her for canoeing contests.

Sr. Janet Augustine, principal of St. Joseph’s College of Women, Alappuzha, said the financial difficulties faced by Bincymol, a third year BA History student at the college, prompted them to request the Kerala University for monetary assistance.

Nimmy Alexander, associate professor and Head of Department of Physical Education of the college, who presented the case of Bincymol to the university, said the vice-chancellor had sanctioned Rs. 1 lakh as assistance for Bincymol. The money would be soon given to Bincymol by the Syndicate.

Bincymol’s dream is to represent India in canoeing at the Asian Games and she is determined to make it a reality. “We used to practice two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening on all days of the week except on Sundays. When a championship nears, a one-month camp is organised where we practise for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening,” she said.

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