With the wind in his sails

Fourteen year old Durga Prasad’s story is one that will surprise and inspire you. The boy from Rasoolpura did not let obstacles get to him, rather he sailed through all that life brought to him.

Now after participating in several events including the Monsoon Regatta and Telangana Open .  Durga Prasad who has been learning sailing since 2014 will be representing the country at the Asian Sailing Federation Youth Games to be held in the UAE.

“ I didn’t expect that I would get selected. It’s all because of the support and push that I have been getting from my coach Suheim Sheikh and The Yacht Club of Hyderabad. This is the first time I will be boarding a flight and I am excited” says the Class X student of Udbhav School in the city. Interestingly in 2014 Durga was selected by his school to be part of a group to learn sailing and that’ s how it all began.

Not only did he overcome his fear of water sports as he took to sailing but he did so well that he is currently ranked third in the Under -15 category in India.

“ I used to read articles about sailing. I was afraid of water sports earlier  but when I got the opportunity to sail and noticed the safety measures that are taken.  I was not afraid anymore. Gradually I started liking it and overcame my fear “ he says.

However that was not the only challenge he faced.  “ we are very poor. My father Erra Lingam works at a photocopier unit and my mother Erra Sarala is a sweeper at a bike showroom” says Durga.

But that never stopped him from dreaming big.  He adds “ In spite of that my parents encouraged me to take up this sport.  Now that I am representing India at an international event  my parents are very happy.”

The young boy would practice after school hours from 4 to 5 pm on weekdays and from 9.30 am to 6 pm on weekends.  “ I would come back home and finish my home work since studies are also important. The principal of my school also supports me a lot. She often checks on my practice and how I am doing professionally”.

He continues  “ my coach [ Suheim Sheikh ]  has been my pillar of support. I would not get  a few things right in the beginning but Suheim sir would not mind teaching me again. Even when I would not finish first during competitions he would encourage me by saying that there are many other championships and I shouldn’t get disheartened. “

Durga also adds that his neighbours at Rasoolpura have no clue about his achievements.  “ My neighbours don’t know the value of pursuing sailing. They think that I am wasting my time, as they have no clue about the sport or the opportunities. I want more people in Hyderabad to take up sailing “ he says adding.  “ I feel happy when I am on water and I also get into the competitive mode.  In future I want to bag a gold medal at the World Championship and make my city and country proud. I am confident that I will be able to achieve it “.

 

 

Courtesy    Deccan Chronicle

 

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