Drikpriya Paul, 16-year-old rower from West Bengal, made headlines as she clinched the silver medal in the Junior National Rowing Championships' single scull event on Sunday, December 12. The achievement, however, soon turned into a life-threatening event for the athlete.
Rower Faints, Rescued By Lifeguard
Paul pushed herself with an intention to win the race. She had secured the second position, rallying behind Madhya Pradesh's Monika Bhadoria and ahead of Kerala's Marian Belinda in the 1,000m competition.
By the end of the race, the Bengal girl was so severely depleted of the energy that she fainted and fell into the water after crossing the finish line. Immediately, lifeguard Kanav Katyal took to rescue the rower back on her boat. The 21-year-old lifeguard was alert all the time and his presence of mind helped saving Paul.
According to the Times of India, before becoming a rower, Paul had also tried her hands in martial arts and swimming among other sports. She had reportedly clinched a gold medal in Kalaripayattu and Karate in National Junior Championships. Unfortunately, all those skills couldn't help her at the crucial moment.
"I almost blacked out and lost consciousness after the race," she explained.
"I am very thankful to the people who saved my life."
Before clinching a silver medal, Paul had won a sub-junior bronze in the single scull in 2019 at the same venue.