For Kaushal Kumar Yadav, odds were only to be overcome. How else will one explain his emergence as monarch in the Hobie 16 Nationals at Hyderabad’s Hussain Sagar?
The only qualification he owned was that he knew swimming! And that he learnt in a canal, the name of which he knows not, near his native village of Ahiravali in land-locked Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district.
Kaushal’s climb to the top throws up the paradox of personnel from the army, despite their land-based training offering few openings, outshining those from the navy, operating mostly in the open seas.
The twin hull, double sail catamaran that he carries out his conquests on performs best in high wind conditions, so sorely lacking in the artificial, inland reservoir he practises in.
“We won with ease, free of tension,” said Kaushal, shortly after the triumph, sans the showmanship victors of a national competition may be prone to.
Helming his big-built boat with Gireesh Mailapravan as crew, it was smooth sailing for the Artillery Water Sports Association (AWSA) duo in the recent championship, where they ‘got the gun’ no less than four times in the 12-race competition, besides finishing second thrice.
In the process, they had eclipsed the big boys of double-hander sailing such as Sandeep Jain, Ayaz Shaikh and P.P. Muthu.
So are these two tigers only on home turf in Hyderabad, where they are posted? Not really, for their partnership proved productive right from the outset with gold in the Coastal Nationals at Visakhapatnam in April last year.
So did they sharpen their sea-faring skills in the Bay of Bengal on the 1364-km Sarvatra Expedition along the Coromandel coast from Chennai to Gopalpur-on-Sea in Odisha, that ended in January 2012.
Icing on the cake
Only that the icing on the cake came shortly before they were crowned champs. Acknowledgement of their performance, if not their prowess on the water arrived in the form of a certificate from the Limca Book of Records in recognition of their feat.
Kaushal will not rest on his laurels though. “If we get sufficient exposure to international competition, we stand a good chance of landing a medal in next year’s Asian Games,” says the part-time but intrepid sailor.