Millennium Post

Out there in the open!

Out there in the open!
What prompted you to take up triathlon? It’s not a discipline that’s widely known or followed by Indian sportspersons?

It started very gradually. I used to swim to beat the heat and also because I truly love swimming! I have had the good fortune of a liberal upbringing. I was never made to feel that being a woman was in any way different, in terms of opportunities or pursuits. My cousin sister worked on an oil rig at Schlumberger and was probably the only woman in her generation to pick up a job like that and today she holds a highly acclaimed position. So, all the credit goes to my family, who never differentiated, between their son and daughter.

How did you train?

To be very honest, I manage work like any other woman. Rather I think my life is pretty easy sometimes as compared to the lives of many other women all around the world. I don’t have to ride a hero bicycle for 20km to get to college or access to basic facilities. I have seen some amazing girls in the heart of TamilNadu who seem to do this almost every day, what is my difficulty compared to their daily struggle for sustenance? I value every minute of my time and I choose to look for things that bring me joy, everyday. It’s all about the perception.

Do we have triathlons in India? Are there any such race as part of our sports calendar?

Yes. There are very few competitions in India, but triathlon is yet to get popularity in the country like other sports.

It must be a physically demanding sport… What are the main constrains?

The main constrain is the competing priorities that intervene between my day-to-day life and my event life. There can many constrain but persistence, Independence and a never-say-die attitude can together tackle all of them.

Which are the main events held around the globe?

Hawaii Ironman World Championship, Nice Triathlon, Enduroman Arch to Arc, Norseman Extreme Triathlon and many more.

Are there chances to see you participate in Olympic Games which comprise triathlon as a medal event?

No. Ironman triathlon is four times the length of the Olympic format – I am an endurance athlete and plan to stay that way.

Do you have a coach? Is it possible to attract sponsors (how important is sponsorship in the context of Triathlon)?

No I don’t have a coach, as I can’t afford one. In my view, sponsorship for training is very important for every athlete, small or big. Timex India has given impetus to my journey to become India’s and Asia’s first triathlete.

Do you have to perform 10 km swimming, 420 km riding and 84.4 km running in one go? Frankly speaking, it sounds rather scary!

The Ironman is a single-day triathlon with a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride and 42.2 km run done in that order, back to back. Ultraman is a three-day stage race, with a 12 hour cutoff each day. It has a 10K swim, 150K bike on the first day, 270 km bike on the second day and an 84.4 km run on day 3.

Are the distances mentioned fixed for all triathlons? What are the parameters at Olympic Games?

Triathlons vary in distance. According to the International Triathlon Union, the main international race distances are Sprint Distance, which has swimming, cycling and 5 km run. The most recognized Ultra Distance is Ironman triathlon.

Which countries have the best Triathletes?

Australia and Switzerland. Both these nations are ideally good at this event.

How many triathletes are there in India? Has there been a rise in interest during the past few years (since you started out)?

After I started, a lot more people picked up.
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