Kazan 2015: The Indian star of the diving meet


Rajendrakumar Kahnpade didn’t have too much practice before the competition. In fact, he arrived to Kazan just last evening, today he came to the pool, had a couple of jumps, then stepped up to the 1m springboard to perform his dives.

Which he learns from a paper, before each attempt.

Well, it’s rather a kind of repetition for the 62 years old. He had few competitions in the past, however, just to be on the safe side, he carefully studies that sheet from time to time. It’s the official list of dives. And it’s good to have them at hand, since Mr. Kahnpade dives only in competitions, more precisely, solely at the FINA World Masters Championships. Between them – no diving. Not a single session. Or dive. “We don’t have any facilities where I can train” he explains.

Ah yes, forgot to mention: the old gentleman is coming from India where diving is not among the top-ranked sports, so to say. Still, wherever he goes, he quickly becomes the town’s favourite because of his look. As if he just stepped out from Steven Spielberg’s famous movie, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Here in Kazan he posed for more photos than the number of dives he had. Not in Kazan – in his life.

“Perhaps I have had 10 dives so far. No, not in a year. In my life…” he jokes. But the real total cannot be much higher, since he joined the Masters movement in 2008 at the Worlds held in Perth.

It was Alexander Ruhl who started to teach him the dives. “I was his coach” says the German, who actually Kahndape’s main rival in the 60-64 years age group. “We met at each event and I taught him some new dives. Now he has five-six to choose from.”

Of course, they are not from the high DD’s wonderland of 3.6s or 3.8s. Modest 1.4s, 1.7s, 1.8 as a maximum. But he tried to perform the best possible way. Sadly, he completely missed his 3rd dive, the 201A. But after the zeros, he bounced back! He got 4.5s, 5.5s for each of his remaining three attempts.

“You know, I’m coming because of the good friends here” he says. “My family is here, we are happy to be together with the other divers. It’s really nice.”

And he adds with a broad smile: “And tomorrow I will compete in the 3m!

Of course. No one has any doubt on that.