Dr Sahitra, a champion who wears many hats

A multi-sport professional, the 24-year-old opens up about her journey and love for fitness.

Talent is a word that is almost abused in the world of sports. Numbers do not quantify it, ability does. The ability to excel in various sporting disciplines makes them talented. Dr Sahitra Ghurye has represented India in karate, roller skating and ultimate frisbee and is a State level footballer. Her sheer will to master a variety of sports and compete at the highest level makes her talented.

From Karate to Ultimate frisbee

Sahitra’s parents ensured she took up sports at an early age. “They wanted me to do three things — athletics, swimming and karate,” she says.  “Karate was fun as a kid. We went for camps every now and then which had grueling morning and afternoon sessions with short breaks where we watched Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies.”

Introduction of karate at an early age meant that self-discipline remained a huge part of her life. By the time she would reach eighth grade, this karate kid started picking up football. Playing with her friends in the building, she would love the beautiful game. “I went for a selection trials at the Kenkere Football Club (in Mumbai) where I was picked up in team. That was the start of my football journey.”

A year later Sahitra was injured and was ruled out of football for a couple of months. “I was sad. My father took me to BKC (Bandra Kurla Complex) where we both were sitting on a bench eating ice cream and we saw this kid on roller skates. I found it very beautiful and I told my father that I want to do roller skating next.”

The ice-cream worked. The determined Sahitra not only took up the sport once she recovered but also participated in the National Championships in a year’s time. And year’s on, In 2009, she was named in the Indian team for the 2009 World Championships in China.

The fourth and the most recent sport where Sahitra has excelled is the ultimate frisbee. Once again, her introduction to this sport was a mere coincidence. “One of the friends from football used to play it and they were one short in a particular match. She called me because she knew that I love to try different sports.” 15 days later, Sahitra was approached to play the sport for a national side. Three months later, she would attend the national selection and make it to the Indian squad right away. In the last two years, she has played the Ultimate Beach Championship. 

All about the fitness

The 24-year-old orthopedician believes her fitness is the main reason she has been able to play so much in such a small time. “Sometimes, I do my workouts at two o’clock in the morning when I don't get the time in the day,” she says. “I am following this routine for almost 10 years and now it’s a part of life. I feel incomplete even if I skip a single session.”

Sahitra’s fitness regime before would get involved in her studies was expansive. A 5-kilometre run thrice a week, gym sessions twice a week, a day to play and a rest day, that’s how Sahitra would schedule her week. But with her commitments towards the hippocratic oath, remember she’s a doctor, taking preferences, the fitness enthusiasts has switched to short, but high-intensity regimes. “Currently, I don’t get much time. With a tight work schedule, it becomes difficult to find time for workouts. I do short interval high-intensity work-outs,” she says.

To become the best version of yourself

Sahitra journey hasn’t been all about herself. She is thankful to the various coaches and trainers who have helped her through her journey. “When I look back, I genuinely got the best coaches and I was lucky that I learnt from them which helped me pick up these sports”, says the champion athlete.

But she believes that with fitness at the core, competitive sports is also about strategies. “If I get some time off I try and watch college football games and plan out strategies. I have always paid attention to the tactics and planning and I feel it is crucial to every single sport that you play.”

“I see a lot of parents asking their kids to leave sports and focus only on academics. They will have to understand that by playing sports we learn a lot. Qualities like focus, concentration and hard-work are well portrayed while playing sports.”

While Sahitra, as many would term is exceptionally “talented”, her mantra to success is rather simple. “Try and become the best version of yours. And you must enjoy the game, if you do that then the rest will take care of itself.”

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