CXOs in Sports: Interview with Parag Kulkarni, Senior Vice President & Business Head – Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting Group
Sportskeeda brings another exciting series of interviews – CXOs in Sports, where we speak to eminent and prominent personalities, talking about their sporting interests and ideas for development of sports in general and of their sports work/interest in particular.
Parag Kulkarni is Senior Vice President & Business Head – Commercial Lighting & Furniture Business, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting Group.
Parag joined Wipro in 1993 in the Sales function of Wipro Lighting. Prior to this, Parag has worked with SKF Bearings (I) Ltd, where he began his career, and later with Atlas Copco (I) Ltd.
He is a keen long distance runner and likes playing tennis. Sportskeeda caught up with him recently to talk about his sporting interests and his thoughts on India’s future in sports.
When did you get introduced to Running and how frequently do you run?
I started running about 6 years back in 2008. I had been a regular walker before for over 15 years. It was my wife who prompted me to start running . Also the Annual “Spirit of Wipro” run and training for it over the weekends at Wipro got me interested in “Running” as a sport.
I am a frequent traveler and that restricts my running on weekdays, but I do enjoy running in different cities and certainly on weekends in Bangalore .
What sports do you follow? How and when did you develop the interest?
Outside of cricket, I follow Tennis, Formula 1 and Football (I like both the EPL and the Champions League)
Who’s your favorite sportsperson and why?
Rafael Nadal for his brand of tennis, his fighting ability and humility, Cristiano Ronaldo for his flair and skill, Lewis Hamilton for his aggressive driving ability and Sachin Tendulkar for his dignity.
Do you play any other sport apart from running?
Yes, I enjoy playing tennis over the weekend.
One thing that you’ve learnt from running that you use in your day-to-day life.
Discipline, sticking to a regime, strengthening your core, identifying milestones, keeping a healthy pace and finishing strongly – these tenets of good running hold true in day to day life as well.
What has been your best sporting moment? (Please share any anecdote that comes to your mind)
There are a few, including playing for my school Table Tennis team, to playing for my University team at the All India Inter University Tennis tournament and very recently doing the 10 K run in 51 minutes last year at the Bangalore 10 K run and finishing among Top 400 runners out of ~ 8000 – 10,000 runners.
How do you believe we can help grow the culture of Sports in India?
I see that happening and much has changed for the good in the last 5 years. I see so many runs being organised across India and in Bangalore alone you hear about a run once every month. Participation in these runs is on the rise. In the Mumbai Marathon that I ran in January I was impressed at seeing such diverse participation.
Television has played a big role, as have large corporates who are stepping forward by sponsoring events and providing sports facilities within their work area for their employees.
Do you think India has a bright future in sports?
Certainly yes. More than producing few champion sportsmen, as a Nation if we are able to encourage youngsters to take up sports for a healthy life, it would yield results in all areas.
India has had some good successes in sports other than cricket, but cricket still remains the pre-dominant force. How do you think we can change that?
Things are changing . We have world beaters in other sports like Badminton, Tennis, Chess, Shooting, Wrestling, Boxing etc . So certainly things are changing and much more success would come our way in the years ahead.
A message or quote that you’d like to share with our readers
“Its never too late to start”. Key is to persevere, enjoy each stage of the journey, keep small achievable milestones that would encourage you to continue persevering and improve.