Rohini Rau leads an all-women Indian sailing team aimed at lifting the spirits of women and sport in India.
Dr Rohini Rau is an international athlete. Her best World ISAF Ranking was 94 and 5th in Asia. She created history by winning India’s first international gold medal by a women’s youth team at the Asian Sailing Championship in 2004. She has participated in 8 World Championships, winning 6 international medals and 32 National Medals including 8 Consecutive National titles in the Laser Radial.
She campaigned for the 2012 Olympic Games. She missed qualifying by 1 place and gave up sailing to pursue her medical degree. Seven years later, she has completed her MBBS, is now pursuing her final year of Internal Medicine from University of Edinburgh and works as a Senior Resident at Kauvery Hospital, Chennai.
Having gone through many challenges with the sailing federation, she stayed away from the sport but kept up her fitness. Now aged 32, after 7 years she is making a comeback into the International sailing circuit. This time she is forming India’s first ‘All Women’s J/80 Sailing Team’ to represent India at the J/80 World Championship in Bilbao, Spain in July 2019. The six member team comprises of past sailors, current national squad sailors and junior sailors. Rohini’s objective is to popularize the sport of sailing in India especially among women and to make people aware of the plastic pollution in the oceans.
The rest of the team are:
Mrs Alekhya Sudam 28, from Hyderabad who is a former sailing teammate, an engineer by profession and a mother of a 3 year old who is also making her comeback.
Aishwarya Nenduchezhian 23, Asian Games Bronze Medallist, a fitness trainer and member of the National Squad in the 49er FX Class
Tulsi Movva 15, a 10th grade student who has already won medals internationally in the Optimist and Laser 4.7 class
Tejashree 15 also a 10th grade student basketball player who is an upcoming sailor from Chennai
Yashna Vummidi 20 is the latest addition to the team – a former national level swimmer will be sailing her very first sailing event.
They are undergoing vigorous training at the Royal Madras Yacht Club, Chennai under coach Chinna Reddy.
“Our objectives are – To create more awareness of Sailing as a sport in India especially among women; To make people aware of the toxic effects of plastic pollution in the oceans. With less than 50 days to go, we are still looking for sponsorship and funding to get the team to the World Championship – We are exploring crowd funding options as well.
“The link to the crowd funding site is m-lp.co/rohinira. Every little bit adds up and we would like to thank everyone who have contributed so far but we still have a long way to go. A lot of well wishers have come forward to support us,” says Rohini. These are:
F45 Training Nungambakkam are our official fitness partners taking care of the fitness of the team
Gibran’s Splendid Food Company are our nutrition partners providing healthy energy bars while we are training
Vivek Karunakaran is our official uniform partner who has sponsored his ‘Flawsome’ shirts to the team.
Kauvery Hospital, Chennai has generously contributed to our campaign as well.
The TED Fellow is confident of performing well at the World Championship as they have been practicing together in Chennai. The Royal Madras Yacht Club has 4 J80 boats, and the conditions (wind/ sea state) are great for sailing, similar to what we might experience in Spain. There is a men’s team that sailed the Asian J/80 championship in 2018 in China and placed 5th. We are therefore lucky to be able to train with them and practice with the best facilities.