"I don’t want to give too much thought to the fact that I am the first Indian girl to achieve this. I just want to be a winning jockey" said Battula Aparna Das of Andhra Pradesh, the first Indian girl to get a US jockey licence.

Battula Aparna Das of Andhra Pradesh created history of sorts by becoming the first Indian girl to get a US jockey licence a few days ago. This 23-year-old youngster, born in Visakhapatnam, did her schooling in St. Francis Xavier and later graduated from Mount Carmel College in Bangalore.

This Telugu-speaking girl has a wonderful track record in sports. She has won many medals in national skating meets, inter-college athletics champion besides, being a school-level hockey player. For someone, who loves go-karting, swimming and bungy jumping, Aparna is apparently delighted at her latest achievement.

“Ever since, I had done the basic one-year training in horse riding at Bangalore Turf Club I always had a fascination to be a jockey,” says Aparna, who owes a lot to her trainer and mentor Shinklyer Marshall of Jockey Association of India. “Yet, I don’t want to give too much thought to the fact that I am the first Indian girl to achieve this. I just want to be a winning jockey,” she says.

As part of her endeavour to keep improving and pursuing her passion, Aparna did a two-year diploma in North American Racing Academy at Kentucky, USA.

“Apparently, the internship under famous jockeys later in US helped me a lot,” says the champion youngster, who has the full support of her parents – Velangini Das and Aruna Das. While Ms. Das is the director of Aruna Fashion Design College in Bangalore, Mr. Velangini Das works as an engineer in Armed Forces. They hail from Visakhapatnam.

“Yes, the basic training I had under BARI captain Goutam and later thanks to the efforts of the trainer in Nityanand Stables proved very handy to me,” she says.

Aparna’s first brush with quality competition was when she took part in the first race at Gulfstream Park Florida along with some of the best jockeys in March last year and she finished third. “That result gave me immense confidence that I can realise my dream,” she looks back.

“Right now, I am keen to go back to US and compete in as many races as possible this winter. I can always come back to India and be a jockey. First, I want to make a mark in US,” signs off Aparna.

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