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"My immediate aim in 2016 is to be part of the Olympics": Interview with swimmer Supriya Mondal

761   //    05 Jan 2016, 11:20 IST
Supriya Mondal Swimmer
The teenager from West Bengal is a fisherman’s son, and swimming has been an uphill task for him

18 year old swimmer Supriya Mondal wakes up at 4.45 am every day. How does your day compare?

The press room is now jam packed. Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid is on stage and all eyes are on him. The organizers give the T.V broadcasters the get go to get their video bytes from the former batting great. As this ensues, there is a young man who is seated right in the front row. He seems unperturbed by the hullabaloo in the conference room. No one seems to have noticed the Supriya Mondal. Fortunately, I did and approached him with the intention of learning something new.

Supriya Mondal is a teenager from West Bengal.  A fisherman’s son, swimming at first seemed like a natural choice for Mondal.  But things didn’t start out on the brightest note for him. Back in 2009, he had his first major breakthrough. Mondal who was twelve years old then, won a gold and silver medal at the National Games.  Despite this, he had a hard time financing his promising career.

The age old Indian sports clichés of lack of training facilities and sponsors were staring at Supriya. This was when GoSports stepped in and decided to take the talented athlete under their wings.  Mondal now trains at the Dolphin academy in Bangalore and spoke to us about his training regime.

“December was my off season but now I am back doing 4 km laps every day.  My day starts at 4.45 am in the morning. I eat a bit and start training at 5.30. We have a 2 hour session early morning after which I have a healthy breakfast.  I do get some rest time post this”, he said.

Mondal follows a rigorous training routine and is a devoted student of the sport. “I work out at the gym again from 11.30 to 2 pm. My evenings are devoted to swimming again and I train from 4.30 to 7.30. I also study for a bit at night”, the swimmer added.

You don’t have to be a genius at maths to realize the mind boggling hours Supriya puts in on a daily basis to hone his craft. The eighteen year old seems to have a cool shoulder on his head.  Ask him about his experience of travelling to different countries and Mondal seems least interested in discussing tourism.  “I went to China for my very first international swimming tournament. It was the Youth Asian Games.”

“I finished in sixth position. More than the sights, I was amazed by the speed at swimmers who are the same age as mine can swim. I told myself, I need to better my speed to remain competitive”.

“It is now 2016 and my main aim is to participate at the Rio Olympics in Brazil. Over the next seven months, I will know my fate”, Mondal signs off.

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