"The running and cycling culture in India is increasing," says Ironman Kaustubh Radkar

Kaustubh Radkar
Kaustubh Radkar

One of India's topmost triathletes, a 22-time Ironman and a tri-coach, Kaustubh Radkar, was in Bengaluru recently to conduct a Life of Tri Performance workshop. He, along with Olympian swimmer Nisha Millet, conducted workshops on swimming, running, triathlon and cycling.

Kaustubh is a Brand Advocate for Speedo, international swimwear and swim accessories brand. In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, Kaustubh spoke about how the triathlon athletes are on a rise in India, and how the culture of exercise is changing in the country.

SK: What do you think about the excitement level of the participants about getting into Triathlon?

Kaustubh: It's really great to see the sport of triathlon grow in India. Back in 2008, when I did my first IRONMAN, only a handful of people knew about a triathlon, let alone Ironman. Fast forward to today, there are more than 100 Indians who have finished an Ironman event.

SK: You interacted with triathlon enthusiasts recently. How would you guide the entry-level participants to take up the sport?

Kaustubh: The first step is swimming, a lot of people find that to be the weakest. Once you know how to swim you can get in training for any triathlon distance.

SK: What do you think are the five major things a person should keep in mind while taking up such a sport which involves a bit of a few other sports in it?

Kaustubh: Discipline. You will need it during training. Give yourself ample time in training, keep Ironman as a goal but you have to start slow. So get into a sprint or an Olympic triathlon first. Injuries are part and parcel of any sport, so be patient don’t overdo any activity.

Keep family involved as triathlon training is intense and involves long hours. So having family on your side will keep you motivated and fresh.

SK: As a veteran yourself, what do you think are the facilities lacking in the country that could be stopping people from participating in tournaments like Ironman, Ultraman and such tournaments?

Kaustubh: Lack of access to swimming pools and lack of good swim coaches is the primary reason athletes are a bit afraid to get into triathlons.

Of course, running and cycling in India has its own challenges as well, but with running and cycling culture expanding that is slowly improving.

SK: There are not many athletes like you who participate in worldwide tournaments. Are people not aware of it or what could be the reason for that.

Kaustubh: Costs is a huge factor, travelling plus racing adds costs. For a lot of athletes Ironman is on their bucket list, they do one and they stop.

SK: Where do you see Indian athletes performing in the tournaments mentioned above in the next 10 years?

Kaustubh: With young athletes entering this sport it will be very interesting to see with proper coaching and mentoring how they will do in international events. We already have had a few athletes who have got podiums on half Ironman events, now we need to make this

SK: Can you please tell us about your association with Speedo?

Kaustubh: Its an honor to be a Speedo Brand Advocate. I have used Speedo swim wear and goggles as a swimmer. Now to have the opportunity to represent the brand is just super. I am excited to try out their new products especially swim goggles and accessories.

SK: What exciting things have you planned out with Speedo in order to help the upcoming athletes?

Kaustubh: Like you saw this past weekend we organized a triathlon workshop in Bengaluru, we have plans to take this in all major metros so that triathletes can experience Speedo gear and accessories and also be exposed to triathlon training and various other aspects. We will also have a special swim clinic with me in the near future.

SK: We all know how much you love swimming. Can you tell us what made you start swimming? What age you started and what was your motivation/encouragement?

Kaustubh: I started swimming around age 8-9, it started more as a life saving skill where my sister and me went to a pool barely 400 mtrs away from our house.

Once I started winning local events naturally I was motivated to represent Pune, Maharashtra and later on India as well. Now as a triathlete I am getting back to my old swim times, and its always motivating to swim against the younger lot and push them out of their comfort zones.

SK: In a triathlon like tournament, what do you think is a must learn sport from Swimming?

Kaustubh: A strong swimmer has certain advantages during a triathlon event as you get the changing area with very few athletes so transition and few kms on the bike you can settle in a good rhythum.

Swimming is very unique sport that its just the water and you, during a long event such as Ironman having the ability to focus on the now is very important. Swimming teaches one that, whether its in the pool or open water you have to remain In the moment.

Edited by Alan John
App download animated image Get the free App now