Born and bought up at Yeragudda, a remote village in Deodurg taluk of Raichur district, he has never been trained in swimming, but has managed to win a silver medal in the national swimming competition organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports at Bhubaneswar in November. In August, he stood first in Karnataka in a contest for persons with physical disabilities.
He is now looking forward to participating in the international competition to be held in Sydney, Australia, likely in March next. He has been practising in the wells and tanks dug for agricultural purposes in the fields. This “training” is his two-hour routine before leaving for Deodurg by public transport to attend classes at a government college where he is pursuing his second year ITI course.
“Top two physically challenged swimmers at the national level competition are selected and told by the Ministry to make preparations for the international event. But I have no infrastructure to practise and also no support,” he told The Hindu.
When he qualified for the national-level competition, he did not have enough money to travel to Bhubaneswar. “Rajashekhar Naik, president of the Raichur District Central Cooperative Bank, gave me Rs. 5,000 so that I could participate in the competition, and I won the second prize.” he recalled.
Mr. Ambiger, who had never had a luxury of swimming pools and swimsuits, had an embarrassing experience at the national-level competition where he was initially not allowed to participate as he did not have a swimsuit. “I spent whatever money remained with me to buy a swimsuit,” he said.
Mr. Ambiger’s family is too poor to afford a better training for him in Bengaluru or other city. He lost his father in 2007. An eldest brother lives separately and two elder sisters are married. He and two younger brothers live with his mother in the village. One of the younger siblings, with the mother, tills the 2 acre dryland for a living.
“My dream cannot be realised unless government agencies or any individual or organisation comes forward to back me,” he said.