Namita Chandel is not a famous name. This Canoe race expert has remained an underrated sportsperson in the country. Now with Japan Olympics announcing to have canoeing as an event for the first time, for women, are things going to change? Bhopal-based Chandel is surely hoping to make history and become the first Indian woman to qualify from the country.

Key Takeaways:

  • Namita Chandel, canoeing and kayaking player, is working hard to become the first Indian woman to qualify for canoeing at 2020 Olympics.
  • Canoeing for women has been introduced in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
  • Namita is competing in the upcoming Asian Championships in March, in Thailand and it is do or die situation for the young woman from Bhopal.
  • “The Asian Championship is the Olympic qualification for me. I need to win a medal there and qualify,” said the Canoeing racer.

Background

Coming from a small village in Madhya Pradesh, Chandel is inspired to make a name for herself in canoeing and kayaking in India. Knowing well that it’s an underrated sport unlike cricket or hockey, Chandel chose this activity which involves paddling a canoe with a single-bladed paddle. Her main objective is to target Tokyo so that the sport gets sponsors and credits from the fraternity. She is trying very hard to qualify for the event.

The Asian Championship is the Olympic qualification for me. I need to win a medal there and qualify.

In March the Asian Championships will be held in Thailand, and for Chandel, it’s a do or die situation. She told ET Panache a few weeks ago, “I need to work really hard as there is very little time left for the Olympics. I have been in Hungary for the past four months. Next, there is a national camp that is happening and after that, we will go and train abroad. The Asian Championship is the Olympic qualification for me. I need to win a medal there and qualify.”

Last year Chandel put on a top notch performance at the 29th National Canoe Men and Women Championship, by winning two gold medals in the 500m & 1000m categories. She won four gold medals, thus making the sport a mainstream event.

Emerging sporting icon

She has to work really hard on her fitness to speed up the process. Chandel said, “I am training to improve my speed work. It is a movement away from the long workout that I normally do. There is also endurance work that I am focusing on. There is also gym work, long distance workout that I have to do to improve my game on the whole. Physical fitness, endurance workout and boat fitness are all different but important parts of my training. In the boat – speed and strength is important.”

“Physical fitness, endurance workout and boat fitness are all different but important parts of my training. In the boat – speed and strength is important.”

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Feature image credit: Namita chandel – International player/Facebook

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