Hyderabad: Every sport has its first and it is matter of pride that the newly formed state of Telangana has taken the lead in having India’s first State level sailing championship.
There is an effort to convert the sport into an inter-state rather than an inter club sport opening access to the common citizen rather than to just the elite and privileged.
The Telangana Sailing Association, now headed by Arjuna Awardee and the first circumnavigator from India Lt.Gen. KS Rao, has taken the lead to drive the sport to the grass roots of the state in collaboration with the Yacht Club of Hyderabad.
“The focus has always been to build infrastructure and allow the common citizen to learn to sail and this year we are proud to say that apart from the top sailors in the country more than 30 young sailors from the state will take part in the Telangana Open Regatta after many months of intensive training by the Yacht Club of Hyderabad under Chief Coach Suheim Sheikh completely free of cost.” said Gen KS Rao
The TSA’s primary task is to encourage the state to help spread the sport across every district of Telangana and pick the finest sailors from a large pool of talent.
“Who knows, one day one of our kids from Telangana may attend a World Championship or the Olympics in Sailing. We have faith in the coaching systems set up by the Telangana Sailing Association” said RS Praveen Kumar.
The Telangana Open will consist of a Sub Junior under 16 category to be sailed in the Asian Games Class Optimist Boat and the Junior and senior category to be sailed in the Olympic Class Laser boat.
The Hussain Sagar lake is full of young sailors practicing hard for the event that is to host both a large number local sailors as well as India’s National Champion Chitresh Thata from Chennai and India number 11 Durga Prasad from Udbhav School at Rasoolpura who is the top sub junior sailor from Telangana.
Amongst the girls Juhi Desai of Telangana and Nithya Balachander of Tamilnadu are practicing hard for a gruelling 6 hours a day under the steadfast eyes of their coach.
Nine young girls selected by Nanhi Kalis and supported by Naandi Foundation will be participating in the event for the first time. Two of those prominent amongst them are Mahboobie and Shyamla both from local government schools.
“We are awestruck with the dedication that the Yacht Club and the Telangana Sailing Association coach the kids to bring them from novices to combating the best tin the country in a short span of 8 months and we look forward to a grand set of regattas coming up ” said Rohini Mukherjee, CEO of Nanhi Kalis
The TSA has announced a scholarship for girl students who take to sailing and will provide free education to a few of them in the best schools of Hyderabad for two of the girls who top the leader board at the Telangana Open.
The Telangana Regatta is open to any national level sails while there are special medals and trophies for those domiciled in Telangana as this is India’s first State level championship.
In the Junior Class which will be sailed in the Lasers the top seed is Rishab Nayar from Silver Oaks School who is the current national sub-junior champion and has just returned from the Asia Cup at Abu Dhabi finishing 5th overall.
Close at his heels will be another Telangana lad Tanishq Desai of DRS International. Dark horse Prasad Parad from a school near Rasoolpura has also procured and entry and may prove to be a surprise.
“We expect Rishab Nayar to comfortably retain his title at the national level and also gain a State title at the Telangana Open this year” said Suheim Sheikh his coach.
The Telangana Open will attract sailors from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra.
The eighth Monsoon Regatta is scheduled to start after the TOR on the 14th July. (INN)