Image Credits: Fistosports
Nineteen-year-old Kaushik Patel Girishkumar, the current Sprint Captain of the PDPU (Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Track Team. He provided us with some great tips and insights into life as a college athlete, the transition into university, and the ways in which he has benefited from being active in sports. Kaushik started out playing a variety of sports in formative years. It was then that he discovered his love for track, but he didn’t narrow his focus to a particular event right away. He is competitive mainly in the sprinting event of 100m, 4 × 100 metres relay as well as long jump. Off the track, Kaushik has found that his participation in sport augmented both his academic and social proficiencies. He owes the qualities of commitment and dedication to his participation in sports, and that those traits transferred into his academic life. His personal best of 11:70s in the 100m and 6.10meters in Long Jump that he achieved at the State Level Championships puts him in contention for several state level tournament this year including Petro Cup and other inter college sports fest. Here he briefly talks about his journey from youth, to college, to now the guiding figure of PDPU’s athletics team and more. Excerpts Can you elaborate a little about your past and what made you get into Athletics? I had started my journey in 7th standard in 200 meters and long jump due to motivation by my teachers. I had many ups and down like many sportspersons. It was a big turn of my life when I was one of the top 5 winners at state level in 100 meters timed 11.70 seconds. How would you describe your running style, and which runner/sprinter would you compare it to? I am a sprinter opting to run 100 meters. I am highly motivated by Usain Bolt’s journey as a sprinter and always keep his struggles as my motivation to overcome my failures. Who are some friends/teammates that have inspired and motivated you? My 9th grade teacher had ignited the field of athletics in my life. Further, until now, I have my parents and friends who has always been my support during competition. Some elite athletes find themselves getting a little antsy after taking even a couple days off between seasons. Is it hard for you to take time off between seasons? Yes, I do get antsy and it is much difficult to pick up my momentum from the start. I usually watch sports related movies to get motivation and dedication to get into my fluency of sprints. How do you juggle both studies and sports? I am basically exam-oriented person so it has never been to juggle both my exams and sports. I prefer studying before one week of exam and get everything under my order of papers. When the pain and doubts hit, where do you find inspiration? I usually get inspiration by the support of my parents. And, moreover sports not only teach you to be strong physically but it energises every cell of the body to fight emotional and physical troubles. Best or worst thing about being an athlete? Best things about being athlete is the proud moment of winning and receiving the medals and applauded all over the ground or stadium. And from my point of view, there is no worst part about being an athlete because it is one of the ground struggles, failures with success or the other way. Is there any particular memories from your Athletics career so far that stand out as being special to you? One of the memories which stands apart in my journey is that I had started my running in 200 meters but during the competition at district level I couldn’t finish my race and was highly demotivated and opted to leave the dream. But once again I started my journey in 10th for 100 meters instead and have been successful with both ups and down until now. What are your long-term running goals? I basically have no long-term goals for running. It has been my hobby and passion but I have planned to focus over my studies and looking forward to be a teacher. What would you prefer, a bronze medal at the Olympics or a gold medal at the Commonwealth games? I prefer because both are big bodies and have their own values and importance. Next on your to-do list? Currently, I am a senior player and guide of athletics team in PDPU and preparing my juniors for Petro Cup which is an Inter College big event all over Gujarat and we even compete with some international team of Sri Lanka in other games. What’s your favourite hobby away from Athletics? Is there something you do to take your mind off the running? Exploring and visiting new places during my leisure time is one of the hobby which even include hanging out with friends.