From a four year-old little girl, who loved to dabble in water, Chahat Arora has grown into a confident teenager who has been making ripples in the junior swimming circuit for quite some time now. A decadelong career embellished with multiple national medals, besides over 100 won in the different state events, stand testimonial to the fact.
However, Chahat is not one of those who rest on the past laurels, and she has already started training hard for the upcoming junior national championship, to be held in Bhopal in July. Her aim will not only be to swell the personal medal tally further, but also end the gold-less streak in the event.
“I was fortunate to win a medal (a bronze) in my very first junior Nationals in 2009, and it was bronze again in 2010 and last year.
This time I want to win gold,” said the 16-year-old, adding, “A good performance in the junior meet will also put me in good stead before I take part in my maiden senior Nationals in the latter half of this year.”
Chahat, who studies in class 12th at Vivek High School, Sector 38, started learning swimming at the age of four, and her mother Geeta Arora fondly recalls her daughter’s first steps into the sport.
“Actually, it was Sparsh (Chahat’s elder brother) who first started practising swimming. She used to accompany him to the Sector-23 swimming coaching centre and would sit by the edge of the nursery pool to play with water. Seeing her growing interest, we decided to put her also into swimming.”
After two years, Chahat participated in her first Chandigarh state swimming championship and claimed bronze in the 25mt breaststroke event.
“Next year it was gold. Since then, Chahat has been the reigning UT champion in the breaststroke event,” added the mother.
The breaststroke event is indeed Chahat’s forte: she has won most of her medals, including the three junior Nationals bronze and five National School Games medals (one gold, and two silver and bronze each), under this swimming style. She even created a new meet record in the last year’s CBSE Nationals in the 50m breaststroke event.
“Whatever I have achieved today is all due to my family’s support and blessings of my coaches. A big part of my success goes to them,” added Chahat, who was enrolled by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) under their day boarding scheme three years ago, and has since been training under coach Gurcharanjeet Singh at SAI swimming training centre at Panjab University.
As is in the case of any sportsperson, Chahat’s is always packed up. “At around 5am, I leave for the training centre and come back at 7:30am. Then I rush to school and return by 2:30pm.
After getting over with the tuition, I am back at the training centre by 4:30pmand practice for another two and a half honours. During vacations, the training sessions go up to three hours in both morning and evenings.”
But then, what Chahat aspires for requires great will and hard work. “My dream is to represent India in Olympics and do the country proud by winning medals,” shared the youngster.