“He was 3 months old when he first went sailing with his father.He also went sailing with the kids of the other members of the RBYC. Gradually this interest in sailing grew into a passion and by the time he was 11 he shocked all of us by winning the National Sailing championship in Goa. Sailing has become a very important part of his life and he is working hard to succeed at the international levels”, says Mrs. Anju Dutta as she recollects the journey of her son, Upamanyu Dutta, from the time he was a toddler to the day he became a gold medalist at the Asian championship in Doha, Qatar. Upamanyu, a class 10 student at the Bombay International School is currently the defending champion at the National level in the Optimist category which he has won three times in a row. Son of international yachtsman, Gautama Dutta, Upamanyu comes from a family of sailors. “My father has been my inspiration from the start. Before I underwent international training and started to train under foreign coaches, it was my father who used to guide me. I am still learning a lot from him and I have a long way to go if I want to be like him someday”, says Upamanyu.
He won his first title at the age of 11 at the National Sailing championship in Goa where he was also adjudged the most promising sailor. He has also won the Hyderabad monsoon regatta in 2009. At the international stage he has participated in several events. He won the 2nd place in Hong Kong in 2010. He won the gold medal at the Asian championship in Doha. He participated in the New Zealand regatta in December 2011.
Currently Upamanyu is submerged in studies and is preparing for his class 10 exams. But that doesn’t mean he has lost touch with sailing. He trains and practices regularly to achieve his dream which is to win many medals for India. He wishes to move on to other categories of sailing. “I would like to try the Laser category and the 420s categories. But I am not sure of what to choose. Right now I am all into studies but will make the decision very soon”, he says.
When asked about the current scenario of sailing in India and what he thinks about his contemporaries Upamanyu has a very positive outlook. “Sailing has a great scope in India and is slowly emerging as a competitive form of sport. There are a lot of people who are quite competitive but I think Veer Menon is a strong competitor and has the potential to go places”. At the tender age of 15, Upamanyu has achieved a lot and is still gunning forward to shine at bigger events. He is truly a great prospect for India and a source of inspiration for all those who wish to be professional sailors.
Compiled by Vignesh Iyer