The athlete launchpad program (TAL) is a long-term program that has been created by the Simply Sport Foundation to identify and support the right sporting talents in their quest to excel and ultimately represent India. This program supports grassroots-level athletes with an aim to qualify or represent India.
One such success story of the TAL programme is Vaishnavi who is a national-level sailer hailing from Hyderabad and aspires to represent India in the Olympics and all other major international games. She recently won gold in the YAI Youth championships that happened in Mysore. Following is an interesting interview, about her journey with the sport so far and how she has crossed many hurdles to get to where she is today.
Siddharth: Can you tell me a little bit about your achievements and your journey so far about how you got into sailing and who inspired you to play the sport?
Vaishnavi: Hi, I am Vaishnavi and my sport is sailing. I first heard about sailing back in 2017. My government school teacher introduced me to this. Since then my interest and passion for this sport have kept on increasing. Vishnu Sharmand was my inspiration. I have won several medals including a gold recently in YAI Youth championships ILCA 4 class category.
Siddharth: How was sailing as a sport introduced to you?
Vaishnavi: My teacher at the government school introduced me to this sport.
Siddharth: How did you hear about the Simply Sport Foundations TAL program?
Vaishnavi: I got to hear about The Athlete Launchpad Program from one of my coaches of sailing.
Siddharth: How did you apply for the program?
Vaishnavi: My coach applied for this program on my behalf.
Siddharth: Did you have an initial interview with any of the members from SSF?
Vaishnavi: I had classes with SSF members as well as one on one conversations. This helped me open up more to them and be more confident.
Siddharth: How do you think this program has benefitted you? Has it changed your journey with the sport in any way?
Vaishnavi: It has benefitted me a lot. It has been a good journey so far. Learned a lot of new things regarding my sport and they also helped me in developing my skills.
Siddharth: Do you think you would have got these international opportunities if it was not for SSF?
Vaishnavi: I don't think so. SSF has provided me with a lot of opportunities and they have helped me get prepared for that.
Siddharth: How did the mentors at SSF help you out?
Vaishnavi: I was in constant touch with the SSF mentors. They provided me with things that I required. There were counseling sessions as well as one on one conversations with mentors. This way I was able to communicate better.
Siddharth: Would you recommend other athletes to apply for this TAL programme?
Vaishnavi: Yes, definitely I would recommend it to other athletes. It helps in developing and improving skills that are important for an athlete.
Siddharth: Do you think the TAL programme has impacted your performance overall?
Vaishnavi: TAL programme has improved my performance more than ever. With TAL, I have not only developed my skills but also improved my mental health which is important for athletes. TAL also provided me with opportunities that helped me develop my confidence.
Siddharth: Lastly, what are your future plans and goals that you have set for yourself?
Vaishnavi: Currently I am trying for Asian Games and I aim to win a medal for India. My goal is to represent India in all major international games, especially the Olympics.
About Simply Sport
Simply Sport is a sports policy research & development organization based in India. Simply Sport’s vision is to promote sports as an effective tool for the development of the nation. It focuses on policy research, grassroots development, and the use of technology in sports. To subscribe to Simply Sports Newsletters, Research & Articles, please write to email@example.com. You can follow Simply Sport on the Twitter handle @_SimplySport for more sports-related content.