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Three outstanding sportspeople share their stories of how they motivated themselves to overcome several hurdles and win laurels. Their story is one that shows how far you can go if you have a strong desire to achieve tough goals backed by a willingness to put in a lot of hard work.
Nisha is one of greatest female Indian swimmers of all time, but few would know of her one-time fear of water after a near drowning experience when she was 5 years old. Prodded on by her father, she learnt to swim in Chennai at the age of 9, and has won more than 600 gold medals in State, National and International meets. She was National swimming champion from 1994-2005 and became the first Indian to qualify for the Olympics in swimming in 2000. Her many awards include the Prime Minister’s award for best sportswoman at National games in 1997 and 1999, Arjuna Award in 2000 and Rajyatsova Award in 2001. Nisha heads a swimming academy which has 12 centres in Bangalore. She is an avid crossfitter and runner, and is steadily working towards a podium position in her age group at 10 km and Half marathon events. ‘Tiger Mom’ Nisha is now set on getting her 6 year old twin daughters to be ready to represent India in the 2032 Olympics.
Kolkata based Anjali is an entrepreneur who lives in Kolkata with her husband and daughter. She started running when in her early 40s and within a few years has established herself as one of India’s top long distance runners with podium finishes in half marathons, marathons and Ultra marathons held in India . Her first international Ultra marathon was the historic 87 km Comrades marathon in South Africa in 2017, where she improved on the previous best by any Indian woman by over 90 minutes, and at that time only one Indian male runner was faster than her. Anjali was the lone woman runner in the Indian team that participated in the World 100 km championship in Croatia in 2018 where she set a National record. She led the Indian womens team to a historic silver medal at the Asia & Oceania 100 km championship in 2019 where she broke her own National record. Anjali was adjudged the Indian Female Ultra runner of the year in 2019. Anjali is a member of the Athletes Commission of the International Association of Ultra Runners(IAU).
Anusuya has been competitive in several sports from her school days – starting off as a runner, she soon took to the pool and won several medals at State and National level. She was selected to represent India at Junior Asian Swimming Championship in 1989. Given her talents in running and swimming, Anasuya became a triathlete and won the Karnataka Triathlon in 1991 and both the State and National Triathlon in 1992. She represented India in the World Triathlon Championships in 1991 and 1992, and became the first Indian woman to win an international medal in Triathlons with a Bronze at the 1992 Asian Championships. Anusuya continues to be a great all round sportswoman, and won 4 Gold medals in her Age group at the National swimming championships in 2019. Anasuya lives in Bangalore with her husband and two grown up children.
Sunil is a management consultant based in Bangalore and has always been passionate about sports. He was a national ranked squash player and captain of the Karnataka team. He started distance running when in his 40s and has run several marathons and ultra marathons in and outside India. Sunil is part of the national Ultra marathon committee and has been a support member of Indian teams at international events. Sunil believes that sportsmen make better managers and leaders and sponsors a scholarship for best sportsperson at his alma mater IIM Ahmedabad.