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From fashion design to sports coaching

india Updated: Sep 11, 2006 16:19 IST

HIS PASSION for sports turned him from a fashion designer to a national-level kayaking and canoeing coach. Mayank Thakur, who was selected for the Vishwamitra Award for the 2005, will be felicitated during Vikram Awards function to be organised in Ravindra Bhavan on Monday. Vishwamitra is the biggest sports award of the State for coaches.

Thakur, who started his career in fashion designing in 1996, was named the best designer of the year the same year. “When I started my fashion-designing career, I was determined to become the best”, said Thakur.

While going through his designing sketches of that time, one can easily see his skills. He started a boutique ‘Ala Mode’ that also received a good response. He designed for celebrities like model Shahwar Ali and others.

A diploma holder from Fashion Institute of Modern Art, Thakur organised four-five successful shows. When he was on the zenith of his fashion-designing career, he quit it in 2000.

He said he decided to leave fashion-designing career when he saw the bad condition of water sports activities at the Upper Lake. “When we lived near at Gauhar Mahal, I used to see boats in Upper Lake that attracted me a lot. One day when I visited the Upper Lake, I found that the players and boats were in poor shape. That was the day when I decided to work for water sports in the Capital”, said Thakur. 

His efforts could be gauged from the fact that he produced international sportsmen like Ankit Pachauri who stood 15th in the Junior World Championship in 2004. This was for the first time that any player of the City from water sports achieved such success.

Remarkably, he himself was never coached by anyone. “Whatever I am is just because of my passion for sports. Determination and dedication are the key factors to achieve success in life”, said Thakur. However, he added that a good coach makes the player better from others.

Interestingly, his family, including wife Pratibha, sister Dr Neelima and mother Tara Thakur, never saw him rowing the boat. “I came to know recently that he gives coaching to international-level sportsmen. Earlier, I used to scold him for not seriously thinking of any career. But when I saw his photographs in newspapers I learned that he is a renowned coach of the City”, said a proud mother Tara Thakur.

Next target Vikram Award
A GENUINE player never relaxes and always makes new targets. Mayank Thakur, named for the Vishwamitra Award, also does not want to relax. “I want to break the tradition that a coach cannot be good player and vice versa. My next target is to get myself nominated for the Vikram Award”, said Thakur. Vikram Award is the highest sports award for players of Madhya Pradesh.

The 33-year-old coach’s seriousness for the Vikram Award could be gauged from the fact that he was selected in the State team to participate in the National Games to be organised in Guwahati in February 2007. He has represented the State in all four National Games.