Of sea, sails and empowerment

Hyderabad: Two boys from underprivileged backgrounds are practising to make it big for their club in a series of championships through July, starting from the Sailing Week Championship hosted by the EME at the Hussainsagar.

“I would have left school and been a labourer had it not been for sailing,” says Gautham Kankatla, who secured the bronze medal at the National Championship held in Tamil Nadu last December.

His mother works as an ayah at a city hospital. With an income of less than Rs 10,000 month, Gautham says his family wouldn’t have been able to give him the future he got.

Musti Saibaba has a similar story to share. “My parents have a two-acre piece of land in Vikarabad and because of money crunch they sent me to Hyderabad,” said Saibaba, who is eyeing a spot in the Telangana State Championship. “My brother is a flower vendor, and I would have also gone for that job had I not been selected,” said Saibaba.

The two youngsters are part of the Yacht Club of Hyderabad, and will compete at the Optimist class for under-16 sub-juniors. The two were handpicked by the Yacht Club three years ago, and are amongst the top picks of coach Suheim Sheikh.

“We conduct a recce of schools around the area and find local talent. A good sense of balance and some grasp of natural physics is what we look for because on water that’s what counts,” says Mr Sheikh who trains over 50 kids at the club.

The two youngsters are looking forward to the sailing week which they say would fetch them great exposure. 

“The competition is high as the best from the clubs would be participating. We want to be the best,” said Gautham. 

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