“A Sailor is an artist, whose medium is the wind”
Here is one artist just like Webb Chiles says. We introduce to you one of India’s Youngest Sailors, Ananya Chouhan. Since falling in love with the waters at age 12, Ananya has not looked back. She has many wins which add to her list of achievements in India and abroad.
Doing fantastically well even in academics, Ananya Chouhan bagged a silver in the Laser 4.7 Girls, under 18 category at the recently held Hyderabad Sailing Week. In July 2015 in 30th Laser Sailing Championship Hyderabad, she won a Gold medal in the under 16 Girls category .
Sailing gives you a feeling of being in control and a brave heart that Ananya is, she has sailed through some of the toughest winds and has come out as a winner.
We were grateful that she managed to talk to us even after having a busy schedule. A phenomenal achiever at such a young age, she has already set on a path to glory. There is a lot more to this young sailor than meets the eye.
Here’s introducing you to the 16 year old sailor who’s winning hearts with a charming smile and making India proud.
1. How were you introduced to sailing?
I came to know about sailing through my father’s friend Cdr Dilip Donde, First Indian Solo circumnavigator under Sail. I was following him on the website & his blog throughout his journey around the world.
Then I got a chance to go on a free joy ride on a sail boat in Hussain Sagar lake in Hyderabad. That’s when I got fascinated and forced by my father to join the beginners course for sailing.
2. When was the first time you ever tried your hand at sailing?
It was in July 2012 when i fell in love with the sport.
3. How does a normal day look like for you?
It gets really tough to manage school, tuitions, gym & sailing. Too much packed in a day. I go for sailing during the weekends except 2-3 weeks before the Sailing championships when I sail every day. I also take a break from sailing before my exams.
4. How do you manage your studies as well as Sailing?
It is really tough to manage both but my school & teachers were very co-operative. I have an excellent bunch of friends who help me with my notes & school work.
5.Which was the best race you competed in and why?
It was in July 2015 in 30th Laser Sailing Championship Hyderabad, when I participated in Laser 4.7 category and won the very first race of the championship. I won a Gold medal in the under 16 Girls category.
6. How does it feel to win a Silver in the Laser Radial category?
It is an absolutely great feeling. I was competing for the first time in the Laser Radial category YAI Senior Nationals 2015 which is women open class. I was the youngest and the least experienced in the fleet. I could not complete the first race of the tournament and was really disappointed with my inability to manage a big boat. The second day I bounced back with my determination and strength and managed to finish 1st in one of the 3 races conducted that day.
7. Have you thought of participating in competitions globally?
I have participated in many competitions in Malaysia, Hong kong and Abu Dhabi in the Optimist class of boat. I finished 3rd in the girls fleet in Asian Sailing Federation cup (Hong Kong Race week) held in Hong Kong in Feb 2015.
8. What motivates you to sail?
I like the feeling of being in control of the boat and being with nature. I love water.
9. Who are your Sailing idols and why?
Cdr Dilip Donde is my sailing idol and I am really motivated looking at his passion for sailing.
10.Where should a person start from if he/she wants to pursue Sailing?
It is a good idea to start learning the Optimist boat for kids. If an adult wants to learn then probably he should start with a double handed boat.
11. What are your future plans to pursue this sport?
I want to participate in the next Asian Games 2018 and 2020 Olympics.
12. What other sports are you into and how different is Sailing from them?
I play Table tennis and badminton. I also like swimming and skating.
13. What are your interests other than Sailing?
Managing sailing & studies hardly leaves any time for any other activity but then like any other teenager I love spending time with my friends. I like travelling and always make it a point to explore the places I visit and at the end of the day I always spare some time for music.
14. Last but not the least how have your parents supported you in your success?
It would not be possible for me to achieve anything if not for the support of my parents. They always encourage me. It is quite a task as always one of parent has to accompany me to different venues for competition.
15. Any message for Budding Sailors or people who want to take up Sailing?
Sailing is a sport which is very different from any other sport and once you get to know what sailing actually is, there is no looking back.
We wish Ananya that she keeps winning accolades and does spectacularly well in academics as well as in the sport she loves. You go girl! May you reach new heights and keep making India proud!