Our Women’s Day feature stories

Becoming a professional sportsperson in India today, is a career path viable to many who take up sports such as cricket, badminton, tennis and football. However, being a professional cyclist, a triathlete, a marathoner or a skater is less conventional at best!

This Women's Day, we highlight stories of three women who have chosen to pursue three different, less mainstream sports with unwavering passion, determination and belief. They keep winning at sport and life through their approach.

Samira Abraham

Like most athletes, Samira's story begins in her school years. She competed in track and field and swimming, representing her school. However, it was in her high school and college years when sport took a backseat because of the common belief that it wasn't a feasible career option for an Indian woman.

Samira graduated with a degree in Economics and tried a few different jobs. But none of it gave her the rush that sport did. The drive to compete still burned in her. Taking up triathlon, Samira honed her endurance skills in this brutal sport. However she realised that she wasn’t doing justice to her potential on the bike. Drawn to cycling more and more, she decided to stop triathlon and become a full time cyclist, directing all training miles and efforts here.

As a cyclist, within two months of her first race at the BBCH crit in 2016, Samira came third at the ITT in her first ever Nationals. At the 2018 National Road Cycling Championship, she went on to win 2 gold medals.

Like many others, Samira faces challenges like finding sponsors, conducive training environments and sport specific injury treatment. Luckily for her and unlike for many Indian women, her family has been extremely supportive of her decision to pursue sport as a career.

The one tough challenge for Samira (off the bike) is leaving her precious dogs behind for most of the year as she’s away either training or racing. But seeing them after she returns makes her wins extra-special.

Aarathy Kasturiraj

Aarathy got introduced to skating at 7 years of age and took up this sport relatively young. It has been an extraordinary journey since then. She has won over 130 medals at national and international events.

In addition to inline skating, Aarathy has also competed in ice skating, training for the sport in South Korea and Switzerland. She has also competed at the 2018 Asian Games.

Aarathy has won the Swiss Inline Cup and has set her eyes on becoming an Olympian. If her sporting achievements aren’t enough, Aarathy holds an MBBS degree. Truly, hats off to this woman who has multi-tasked her way to achieving in academics and sport!

Bhumika Patel

Bhumika Patel's sporting story begins later in her life. After a few health scares in her family and the loss of a parent, she followed the advice of her husband and took up running for her physical and mental well being.

Almost ten years ago, Bhumika began with the Spirit of Wipro Run in the 4K category, ran the 10K the following year and completed her first half marathon the year after that.

She is now a seasoned marathoner having successfully completed most of the world majors . Bhumika has also competed in the Over 35 category of Track and Field (1500m and 5000m) at the Masters national level.

While there are many marathoners and women in running, what sets Bhumika apart is her belief in giving back through the sport focussing on the underprivileged and the differently abled. Bhumika really finds joy in using running as a means to build up the morale of the less fortunate, especially women.

By getting them out on the roads, she helps them overcome shyness, anti-social tendencies and helps them realise the positive impact that this activity can have on their health. Bhumika works extensively and systematically with visually-impaired runners through the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, training women and men to build up their fitness slowly and become marathon runners.

Accompanied by Bhumika Patel and her team of guide runners, five visually-impaired girls made history by completing a full marathon for the first time in India at the 2018 Bengaluru Marathon. She is traveling to Boston soon to assist a visually impaired professional triathlete run the Boston Marathon. We congratulate her inspiring efforts in giving back to her sport and to society!