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Swimming Against the Tide

Swimming Against the Tide
True Story of Para Swimmer Madhavi Latha

First Edition

Other Titles in:
Culture, Sport & Leisure

August 2021 | 356 pages | SAGE Select
Swimming Against the Tide is an inspirational story about an ordinary woman with extraordinary grit who set out to create a fair and inclusive world for the persons with disability.

When she was seven months old, a massive polio attack left Madhavi paralyzed below the shoulder. But her parents refused to leave her to her fate. With their most powerful wealth—patience and love—they gave Madhavi the wings to set out and conquer the world on her own terms.

Triumphing over a near-death situation with hydrotherapy, she eventually became a national champion in para swimming. She then started a movement called ‘Yes, We Too Can!!!’ and co-opted other athletes with disabilities to realize their dreams through access to sports. 

Banker, public speaker and National Para Swimming Champion with 30 medals for swimming at the state and national level, co-founder of the Paralympic Swimming Association of Tamil Nadu, the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India and more, behind this stellar list of accolades is the story of a young girl from a sleepy little village who dared to dream and challenged her circumstances, determined to surge through ‘disability’, emerging a winner  and becoming an inspiration to many.
Foreword by Viswanathan Anand
The Bundle of Joy and the Blow
The Short-lived Hope
My Strength - My Family
Schooling Life
And I Graduated!
My Love for Water
Small Deeds, Big Lessons
Finding a Job Was a Tough Job
Banking on My Abilities
My Stint with the Bank at My Native Place
Prejudice and Pride
Lessons Learnt in the Training Period
The Hardships in Finding a Rented House
The Dream Posting
The Struggle to Gain Ownership
Holy Places: Obstacles to Access
Moving Out of My Comfort Zone
New City, New Experiences
A Rude Shock: 365 Days to Live!
The Lifeline
Finding Work–Life Balance, Literally!
The Discovery of an Unknown Talent
The Dawning of ‘Yes, We Too Can!!!’
The Ventures That Struck Gold: Becoming a National Champion
The Journey from a Participant to a Host
Happiness Makes Life Blossom
Paving the Way for Future Champions
Year 2013: Can You Play Basketball on a Wheelchair?
Year 2014: As the Wheels of Change Turned
Year 2015: Growing My Network, Learning the Ropes from Experts and Chennai Floods
Year 2016: Honouring of My Mother
Year 2017: Making History on the Global Stage
Year 2018: Making India’s Voice Heard at the International Level
Year 2019: The Year of Many Firsts
Year 2020: Adapting to the New Normal

‘Sports, like music, has the power to break barriers, to unite, to build, to inspire, to go where nobody has gone before. Madhavi Latha’s life is a testimony to this and more. 

A national para swimming champion empowering sports-persons across the spectrum, Madhavi’s legacy is one of strength, grace and perseverance. As founding general secretary of Tamil Nadu’s Paralympic Swimming Association, Madhavi has introduced more than 300 individuals with disabilities to swimming—people who’ve gone on to compete at both the national and international levels. She has even co-founded the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI). Recently, both the Indian men and women’s teams from WBFI participated in the Asia Oceania Zone Championships and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Qualifiers, levelling the bar for sportspersons across the globe. Madhavi also leads the WBFI’s mentorship programme which enables basketball players with disabilities to realize their dreams and ambitions beyond the court. More power to you, Madhavi!’

A. R. Rahman
Grammy and Academy Award Winning Indian Musician

‘Pleasant, positive, passionate and persevering are inadequate to describe Madhavi Latha’s unique personality. Her continuing saga of high achievement, despite all odds, is a shining example of determination and dedication towards any cause she takes up, be it in sports or her professional work in the corporate world. While she continues her selfless journey of encouraging and inspiring more people, we must remember and offer our salutations to her fine family, who have helped in her progress. Madhavi Latha has indeed shown the world that true sincerity of purpose and ability count, always. Long may it continue.’

M. M. Murugappan
Executive Chairman, Murugappa Group

‘Madhavi’s story is one of perseverance, commitment to a spirit of service and unshakable confidence in her own potential and that of people with physical disabilities across India. Throughout her life, she has defied the odds and the expectations of her society while ensuring that others who face similar obstacles have the opportunity to do the same. Her endeavours in disability sport shine a light on how each of us can find pathways to success, no matter what barriers stand in our way.’

Jess Markt
Disability Sport and Inclusion Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Boulder, USA

‘During my long years of association with Madhavi, I found her to be an exemplary leader—inspirational, encouraging, educative and purposeful. This book, which is a treasure trove of Madhavi’s life learnings, is an inspiration for all of us to chase our cherished dreams by focusing on the art of the possible, or should I say, impossible! It is also a loud reminder that infirmities are only in our mind and we should never short human imagination and willpower. Truly unputdownable!’

Ramkumar Ramamoorthy
Pro Vice-chancellor, Krea University; former CMD, Cognizant India

‘Madhavi Latha’s story is one of great courage and an inspiring lesson for many. Having had the privilege of knowing her for many years, I have been fortunate to have seen her determination and great optimism in the face of overwhelming odds. An enthusiasm and zest for life itself and all that it offers has been the feature of all that she is doing, whether it be swimming, wheelchair basketball or indeed all her other efforts to help the persons with disabilities. This book will be a lesson for us on how adversity can be overcome and on how no mountain is too difficult to climb.’

Dr Sumanth C. Raman
Sports Commentator, TV Anchor and Doctor

Madhavi Latha Prathigudupu

Madhavi Latha Prathigudupu is an Associate Vice President in a MNC Bank Group, a former national Para Swimming Champion, the Founder General Secretary of the Paralympic Swimming Association of Tamil Nadu and the Founder President of the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India. She founded the ‘YES WE TOO CAN’ movement to encourage persons with disabilities to participate in sports.She is a TEDx speaker. She is also a toastmaster and worked as President for the Toastmasters Club in her organization. She led 15-member team of Indian Wheelchair Basketball administrators and coaches to USA on a Sports Visitor Program.Madhavi Latha has spoken... More About Author

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ISBN: 9789391370527