There are plenty of ways to spend your free time, so what makes sailing so special? The answer lies in the enjoyment & fun it offers says young Ayesha Lobo who has been successfully sailing for the past 12 years. Ayesha’s journey started as a 10 year old, when her dad’s friend took her out sailing. She liked the whole atmosphere of ‘wind in your face’, water splashing and the freedom on the water. She joined a sailing school and two years hence participated in a sailing championship. When asked about her experience as a woman sailor she says, “Initially it was difficult as I was part of the first women sailors team but the navy supported us tremendously as they wanted to develop women in the sport”. Ayesha’s ambition is to represent India in a sailing category at the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London.
She happens to be one of the most promising young women sailors in the world and has her own women’s sailing team. Ayesha has sailed 8 International events and 23 national events. When asked about her first championship she remarks, “It was when I was 15 years old. I won the junior class where there were a hundred boats and I finished eighth. It was called the Optimist Passion and I won the girls trophy, that was the first championship I won ever.” In one of the international events she was placed in the top five.
“Sailing in India is slowly picking up. Most of the times people think that it is a very expensive sport, and only those in the league of Vijay Mallya can afford it ” says Ayesha. There evidently lies a misconception in the current scenario for sailing. It is a sport accessible to one and all. As a woman sailor she is of the opinion that the conditions and the situations for women in sailing hasn’t changed much. She says, “Whenever we go for a championship we don’t say that we are competing for a women’s trophy, we say that we are competing against men.” In India there is no particular section for women’s events whereas one may find it abroad.
The determination towards sailing makes her what she is today. She loves sailing and has a great passion for it which keeps her going. Ayesha is pursuing her studies right now and is in the third and final year of her graduation. As a sailor she already trains people and introduces them to the sport. Ayesha is in two minds about turning her favourite sport into a career, “I also dive and do other things so I have a lot of options open,” says the 20 year old Ayesha.