10 saal ki umr se hi Motorcycle racer Kalyani Potekar has been breaking stereotypes. Not only has she been awarded with the Best Rider Award in India in 2011, she was also the youngest participant among 200 boys in a biking event called “Raid De Himalaya” in 2013. Covering almost 3500 kilometres on her bike from Jaisalmer to Kathmandu in 24 days in another event, Potekar has proved that ladkiyan ladkon ko kahin bhi takkar de sakti hain.
The 26-year old who ventured into the world of adventure sports when she was just seven is also a national equestrian champion. With a personal best lap timing of 02.16, Potekar has emerged as a force to reckon with. Jitni exciting thi ye journey, utni hi mushkil bhi. “There was no clear path in front of me. Mujhe saari research khud hi karni padi thi - about the racing academies, trainings, upcoming championships, motorcycles, riding gears and everything which was required to be a motorcycle racer. I started my racing career at the age of 24, as a result. In other countries, they start when they are just 4 or 5 year old and become champions in their 20s whereas, mera pehla race event tha when I was 20!
“The most frustrating thing was the lack of facilities and sponsors for motorsports in India mein racing ko ek sport se zyada entertainment ka source consider kiya jaata hai. This sport is still developing. And there are hardly any brands or sponsors. Unlike cricket and football stadiums, har city racetracks se equipped nahi hai. Surprisingly, all we have is just 3 racetracks in India, one in the north part of India and the other 2 in the south. So, koi bhi practice ke liye mujhe bohot travel karna padta tha. It takes a lot to realize your dreams, but you should never give up.”
She elaborates about the challenges every young girl in India faces when they decide to pursue an unconventional dream. “We live in a society where “log kya kahenge” is more important than “hum kya sochte hain”. Just because of this one fear, most of the young girls get married or stop chasing their dreams. Because agar unhone khud ke sapne chune toh either their parents or the society will question them. But never let them come in the way.”
The racer considers the KTM 1290 Super Duke R as her dream machine and hopes to win many more awards in the near future. Though Potekar admits that she had to put in unending hard work to reach where she has, she urges young girls to not get disheartened if the journey towards their dream is an arduous one. “Sabke apne struggles hote hain. Always listen to your inner voice , your own instincts and chase your dreams. Maine bohot sacrifices kiye hain to achieve what I really want. I have had experiences of crashing in many races but I have dusted off myself, got back on the motorcycle and finished the race every time.”
Do not get distracted. Tie yourself to your goals. Give your 100% to your dreams. Always pick yourself first #SunsilkGirlGiri
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