Sunday, the 28th of July 28, will be a memorable day for Hyderabad Sailor Preethi Kongara.The 14-year-old won the 11th Edition of the Monsoon Regatta National Championship held at the HussainSagar Lake.
“I’m thrilled; I was determined to win this championship from the beginning because it’ll do a world of good to my career and boost my confidence. This win couldn’t have come at a better time for me,” exults a visibly excited Preethi Kongara after winning the coveted title of National Champion in event’s the U-16 category.
The event had a record number of participants. More than 131 young sailors battled it out for the top positions. Preethi, the Hyderabad girl, who represents The Yacht Club of Hyderabad (YCH), put up a spirited show and bagged her spot under the sun. “The fact that I have won for the first time makes it even more special,” beams Preethi.
Riding the wave
During her event on Sunday, the 14-year-old, who was seen getting drenched in the pouring rain, adeptly adjusted her sails to the wind conditions. “This championship has been very tough and intense. But I feel glad that the gruelling practise sessions have resulted in this victory, and the win has renewed my spirit. It means a lot,” she says.
Anyone watching her would have been amazed to know that the spunky kid had ever been afraid of water sports. Preethi has, in fact, taken up the sport only recently. “After I dropped in at the sailing club three years ago, I never had the intention of taking up sailing as a sport.
Sailing into the wind
In fact, I was initially scared of water sports as a whole, but later my coach Suheim Sheik sir instilled the confidence in me. I started practising often and eventually decided to take up the sport full-fledged,” reveals the star child.
Sailing into international waters
Studying in 9th class at the Government High School in Nallakunta, Preethi reveals that sailing has helped her shed her inhibitions. “I realised that the sport has made me a better person.The strategies I apply during the competitions helped me to become more flexible, open and receptive to new ideas,” she says.
Of course, balancing studies and sailing has been a tough one for her to crack, until her coach and president of the Yacht Club of Hyderabad Suheim Sheik guided her. “Suheim sir’s efforts have been instrumental in shaping my passion for the sports. The kind of guidance, support and encouragement I get from him drives me. Now I am able to finally strike a balance between both my studies and sailing,” she elaborates. From someone who feared water sports to one who’s won the championship at a National water sport event, Preethi has much to look forward to. And for the moment, she is looking at upping her stakes at an international sailing championship that’s due to commence in December. “After a few days of celebrations with my friends, I shall start prepping up for my next championship,” says Preethi even as she gets mobbed by her friends congratulating her for her triumph.