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Khelo India Youth Games 2019, Swimming: Jyoti’s KIYG medals inspire her twin Aarti as the duo sets out to make their father’s dream a reality

344   //    19 Jan 2019, 13:15 IST

Jyoti Patil in action at Khelo India Youth Games
Jyoti Patil in action at Khelo India Youth Games

Pune, January 19: When twin sisters Jyoti and Aarti Patil first played in a pool at the age of one, they clearly had no idea what was happening around them. However, their father Bajirao Patil did.

A former national swimmer himself, Patil swam long distances with ease back in the day and also once swam the Greek Seas for 13 hours at a stretch. Swimming always meant a lot to Patil who could not pursue his dream of becoming a professional swimmer due to financial constraints and took up a job with the police forces.

He decided to live his dream through his daughters Jyoti and Aarti as he began training them himself. 

“Our father began teaching us how to swim when we were just a year old and we haven’t looked back since. We focus on bettering our previous timings and not on medals as that’s how our father has trained us to think,” added Aarti talking about her and her sister’s journey as swimmers. 

At the age of four, the twins swam a distance of five kilometers in the sea in an hour and thirty minutes, thus setting a new record. That gave their father further belief of the talent as he got a glimpse of what his daughters were capable of. He realized his daughters could achieve bigger things if they trained harder, and he made that his utmost priority.

Aarti and Jyoti grew through the ranks gradually and won their first national medals in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Jyoti made it big at the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune, winning gold in the 200m breaststroke and silver in the 100m breaststroke events. Aarti just missed the cut to participate at the event but was glad to see Jyoti bring home medals. “It was great to bring a big smile on my father’s face after winning at KIYG, I am sure he will keep pushing me to better my timings even further,” added Jyoti.

The Mumbai girls, who believe in taking things one step at a time, will now turn their focus on the national games later this year as that will be a big step towards their dream of bringing home international medals in time to come.

The sisters have represented India at the South Asian Games in 2016 but could not return with a medal. They hope to draw on that experience and make it back to the international stage at the earliest. 

Jyoti and Aarti draw all their inspiration from their father and they made it crystal clear that they would do anything it takes to achieve his unfulfilled dreams as a swimmer.