Madhavi Latha: National Level Para Swimmer & President of Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India

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Madhavi Latha

This is an inspirational story of a wheelchair warrior Madhavi Latha, who never give up her life after being affected by polio. She is truly an inspiration for all. As a child she was affected by polio but her will and parents support to get success. She completed her graduation and find a job in nationalised bank, but after eight years, her health deteriorated rapidly. Her spine was compressed and putting pressure on one of her lungs. Then, she met Dr.Ananda Jothi, a physiotherapist who recommended ‘hydrotherapy ‘ to improve her condition. Hydrotherapy improved her health immensely and she experienced freedom.

She took part in competitive swimming races. She won many medals like:

• Bronze medal in the corporate sports Olympiad 2011 in 100 meters freestyle swimming.
• 3 gold medals in 2011 Paralympics
• 2 silver and 2 bronze medals in 12th National Paralympic Swimming Championship 2012
• A bevy of medals in successive national level para swimming events.

Madhavi’s success with sports in her forties led her to start a movement called “Yes we too can”, to promote sports for people with disabilities. Her advocacy activities led her to be a state- level association- the Paralympic Swimming Association of Tamil Nadu in 2011. This Association started with 4 para swimmers and has expanded over 300 swimmers. She is the General Secretary for Para Olympics Swimming Association of Tamil Nadu.

After this, Madhavi was approached by UK- based NGO Choice International to partner with them to promote wheelchair BASKETBALL in India. Madhavi got on board, and this led to her along with a few other individuals, instituting the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI) IN 2014. Through WBFI, Madhavi campaigns for greater inclusion of people with disabilities in the sporting world. In 2014, WBFI initiated the first National Wheelchair Basketball Championship at Chennai with 5 teams from different states-Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra. One of WBFI highlight achievements were when they sent in a men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball team to the 4th Bali Cup International Tournament, where both teams won a bronze medal each. These were the first medals in wheelchair basketball that were won in an international tournament by an Indian team.


Madhavi has also spoken about how the absence of para sports in school curriculum and the lack of media cove that para sports receive, means that many people do not even know about its existence.


On January 18, 2016, Madhavi Latha was honoured with the “BUILT TOGH AWARD” at the adding smiles Ambassador Awards ceremony for her efforts towards promoting sports among disabled people.


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