Girl who paddled in ponds makes her mark

  • | Wednesday | 27th September, 2023

Bhopal: While she was racing the wind to a silver-medal finish in China, her farmer father was working in a small field in a village of Madhya Pradesh. Neha Thakur, Indias latest sailing sensation, started paddling in village ponds and is now making waves across the world. Her father Mukesh Thakur, whose life revolves around sowing seasons, has never seen her contest in any event but has always been there to steady her keel. Neha hails from Amlataj village in Hatpipliya tehsil of Dewas district, around 80km from Indore. I had never seen any large waterbody before I joined the MP Sports Academy, Neha told TOI. The biggest Id seen was a village pond or two. We have no waterbody to learn any kind of water sports in my village. Neha got interested in sailing after seeing her cousin Vishal Singh Thakur, who had joined MP Water Sports Academy, said 43-year-old Mukesh. Neha began learning the basics of paddling a boat in small ponds and nullahs. Seeing her passion and determination, I encouraged her to get into the MP academy, said the proud father. She was just 10 years old when she was selected for the MP Academy in Bhopal. We wanted her to be happy, to follow her heart and never imagined she would achieve so much success and bring glory to the country. We are proud of her. People give us a lot of respect because of her and encourage other girls to be like Neha, said the elated father. Mukesh, however, regrets never having seen her daughter compete. We cannot afford to go with her even to a national championship, said Mukesh. Neha won a bronze and gold in the Asian Sailing Championship in Abu Dhabi last year and qualified for the Asian Games.We also published the following articles recentlyAsian Games Sailing: Neha Thakur clinches silver, Eabad Ali gets bronzeIndias sailing team has won two medals at the Asian Games, with Neha Thakur securing a silver medal in the girls dinghy ILCA-4 event and Eabad Ali clinching a bronze in the mens windsurfer RS:X event. Thakur, aged 17, finished in second place with a total of 32 points, while Ali achieved a net score of 52 points. These achievements highlight Indias growing prominence in the sport of sailing.Hangzhou Asian Games: Neha Thakur, Adhvait Menon and Eabad Ali make gains in sailingIndian sailors Neha Thakur, Adhvait Menon, and Eabad Ali showcased their skills at the ongoing Asian Games. Thakur improved from third to second place in the girls dinghy ILCA4 race, while Menon finished third in the boys dinghy ILCA4 race. Ali secured third place in the mens windsurfer RS:X event. Other Indian sailors, including Nethra Kumanan, Vishnu Sarvanan, KC Ganapathy, Varun Thakkar, Harshita Tomar, Shital Verma, Ishwariya Ganesh, Indar Siddeshwar Doiphode, Ramya Saravanan, Preethi Kongara, Shekhar Sudhanshu, and Chitresh Tatha, also participated in the competition.Delayed Asian Games a blessing for Neha ThakurIndian sailor Neha Thakur won a silver medal in the girls dinghy ILCA-4 event at the Hangzhou Games. The postponement of the Asian Games due to COVID-19 allowed Neha to participate as the original qualifier, Ritika Dangi, exceeded the age limit for the event. Nehas improvement and training in Spain have been remarkable, and the coach plans to put her in the senior class womens ILCA-6, targeting the Olympics in Paris. Nehas success has brought pride to her farmer family in Amaltaj village.

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