Interview

“I love sailing and being cut off from the world” says solo circumnavigator Abhilash Tomy

By C.K.Muralidharan

Commander Abhilash Tomy, 42, is a retired Indian naval officer and his love for the sea’s is unique. This yachtsman was the first Indian to circumnavigate non-stop the World solo under sail without any stops in 2013. Abhilash competed in the Golden Globe race in 2018. He took early retirement from the Navy in January 2021, and is training hard to participate in the 2022 Golden Globe race.

 Abhilash  says “ I love sailing and being cut off from the World ” and would like to take part in the 2022 Golden Globe race. He received the Kirti Chakra medal in 2013. He also received other awards like, Nausena  Medal, MacGregor Medal, Tenzing Norgay national adventure award and National Navigation foundation award.  He shared his experience with “Mysoresport.com” on his visit to Mysore during the National sailing championships conducted by Royal Mysore sailing Club at the KRS backwaters recently.  Excerpts:

How did you take up yachting?

As a child, I used to accompany my father who was in the Navy to the sailing club in Kochi. I grew up in the environment and I then and there decided to do something related to sailing when I grew up. I joined the Navy in 1996 in the Naval Academy and took up the sport seriously from then onwards. I was attracted to sailing and adventure at a young age.

What inspired you to take up the 2013 solo expedition around the World?

I was fascinated by the “Around alone” race in which a French lady was the champion. I was very impressed and wanted to emulate her and sail alone when I grew up. Slowly I took up to sailing seriously in the Navy by joining the Navy sailing team. I was sent to Mumbai for six months training in 2008 January. I was chosen as the service back up person  for Dilip Doade’s solo  circumnavigation and gained valuable experience in 2009-10. Later the Navy offered me a chance to circumnavigate the world solo without stops in 2013. I trained prior to that with a sail from Brazil to Rio, then Malaysia to Thailand. 

Tell us about your circumnavigation experience?

I undertook the solo circumnavigation from Mumbai (called Sagar Parikrama 2) on November 1 2012 and returned to Mumbai on 31st March 2013, completing a voyage of 23,100 nautical miles miles, without any stops around the World. I was the first Indian to circumnavigate the World solo without any stops. The then President of India Sri. Pranab Mukherjee, gave a ceremonial reception at the Gateway of India on 6 April 2013. He became the first Indian, second Asian, and 79th person to accomplish this feat.

Your experience competing in the 2018 Golden Globe race?

I raced solo in a 10m/32 feet boat with no modern equipments’ for support. It was a very challenging race. It started in France and ended in France. I sailed in a small boat and started the race and improved my position after 10/15 days and after 82 days was in the third position. The last 15 days were the most difficult, as I experienced bad weather, storms and had a bad accident near Australia and my boat was damaged. I had a nine meters fall and broke my spine. I was rescued in a muLtinational rescue effort. I was operated upon and was off duty for two months and rejoined duty after six months, after passing the military medicals for flying/sailing. In 2021 January, I took early retirement to prepare for the 2022 Golden Globe race.

After your experience in the 2018 race, you have decided to compete in the Golden Globe race again in 2022 -How is it?

I love sailing. I like to be cut off from the World and it has given me more individuality. Spiritually I am involved with nature and the sea and it leads to a great feeling within me. I have to build my own boat and it is very costly. The total cost comes to nearly four crore, and I have written to many companies for support and am awaiting their response. I am also trying crowd-funding as a way to garner funds, and hope to get support. That help if it materializes will enable me to compete in the 2022 Golden Globe race once again.

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Yachting in India has improved a lot say’s Homi Motivala

By C.K.Muralidharan
Homi Motivala, 63, a recipient of Arjuna Award (1993), Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna Award jointly with P.K.Garg (1994-95), Dronacharya Award (2002) and Shaurya Chakra gallantry award (1993) in yachting, on his visit to the Royal Mysore Sailing Club, Mysuru, during the National sailing championship at the KRS backwaters spoke to “Mysoresport.com” On Sunday, and said that “Yachting in India has improved a lot”  and below are the excerpts of the interview:


Mysoresport: How is the Yachting scene in the country?

HM: The Yachting scene in the country has improved a lot. Definitely more emphasis is being given by the association (YAI), Government of India for development of the sport in different centres in the country. India has fared well in the Olympics, Asian Games and many youngsters are taking up the sport.

Mysoresport: Your views on India’s recent performance in sailing in the Tokyo Olympics?

HM: The performance of the four sailors who took part in the Tokyo Olympics was very good. Vishnu Saravanan was the best performer and did well above our expectations. Ganapathy Chengappa, Varun Thakkar and Nethra Kumaran also performed well and it was a good learning experience for them amongst a World class field.


Mysoresport: Tell us about your exploits in yachting?

HM: I was a Commander in the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy gave me full support, financially, fulfilling my equipment requirements and I represented the country in the Asian Games in 1990, 1993 at Beijing and Hiroshima partnering P.Garg and won bronze medals, in the enterprise class. I and P. Garg also were world champions in the enterprise class in 1993. I am the recipient of Arjuna Award (1993), Major Dhyan Chand Khel ratna award jointly with P.Garg during 1994-95, Dronacharya award for coaching excellence in yachting for the year 2002. I was also an International race officer. I served as the Chief National coach from 1999-2006. 


Mysoresport: How do you see the future of Yachting in India?

HM: The future of the sport is bright. Youngsters are taking upto yachting and competing in the highest level. For the first time we had four sailors who represented our country in the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 (three men and a woman). With the government and Yachting Association of India promoting the sport, I see a bright future ahead.

Mysoresport: Your advice to the upcoming youngsters who have taken up to the sport?

HM: They should put their effort and work hard for achieving their dream. I give them ten points to follow: 1. Know the rules properly; 2. Seek knowledge from wherever you get it, 3. Should be extremely methodical and scientific in your approach, 4. Willing to do hard work and effort, 5. Realistic goal setting is a must, 6. Should have a routine, 7.Be critical of yourself, 8. Never dwell in the past, 9. Have fun, 10. Winning and losing is all in the head.

  • Golfing Scene in India is vibrant

The golfing scene in India is vibrant

Chiranjeev Milkha Singh is set to start an academy at the Skytop Golf Village in Mysore. “The academy will be the best of its kind and will provide the best of professional training to golfers,” says the brand ambassador of Skytop Golf Village, in a chat with C. K. Muralidharan.

Jeev Milkha Singh tees off to launch the Skytop Golf Village project in Mysore.

The Indian golfing ace, Chiranjeev Milkha Singh, was in Mysore recently as the brand ambassador for Skytop Golf Village, a brainchild of Skytop Builders Private Limited, Bangalore. He launched the Rs. 2,000-crore project that will come up in two phases on a 602-acre piece of land.

Jeev has plans to start an academy in the Golf Village. In an interview with Sportstar, the champion golfer spoke of his career and future plans.

Excerpts:

Question: Despite going through a personal tragedy, you showed tremendous will power and courage to compete in the Golf Nippon series JT Cup 2008 and win the title. What went on in your mind at that time?

Answer: I dedicate the victory to my wife, Kudrat, for being so strong and convincing me to go and play after the loss of our first child. It is very difficult to focus on the game, when your mind is on something else. I was not focused at all and just went through the motions on the first day. I started the final day in joint third place, and played a brilliant final round to emerge winner. The ‘Golfing Gods’ were with me.

How are you associated with the Skytop Golf Village project?

I am very much impressed with the vision of the Skytop Group to promote golf in this part of the country. I met Mr. Nagendra Prasad, the Managing Director of Skytop Builders, during the Indian Open in New Delhi and he explained to me his plans of promoting golf by starting a Golf Village in Mysore. I agreed to his plans and now it has become a reality.

Mysore is a small city and the golf village, which will come up in full steam in the next five years, will be accessible to every person from this city. If the facilities that would be available here are made use of purposefully, we may see champion golfers emerging from this small city too. I will be starting Jeev’s Academy for golfers in this Golf Village. The academy will be the best of its kind and will provide the best of professional training to golfers. I am the brand ambassador for Skytop Golf Village and I am excited to be associated with this fantastic project.

Being the son of the famous Olympian athlete, Milkha Singh, how did you take to golf instead of athletics?

It all depends on the support from the family. I have a very loving family who were very positive and supported me to the hilt when I started playing golf. My father was, and is a strict disciplinarian and I am indebted to him for what I am today. It has been a long journey in this wonderful sport, from my first professional win in 1993 to this day.

Which was your best win of the 2008 season?

Winning the title at the Singapore Open in the Sentosa Asian Tour from a very competitive field was very satisfying. I was five shots behind when the final round commenced and went on to win by one stroke, ahead of Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els.

Do you think more government support is needed for promoting golf in our country?

The government should encourage golf like all other sports and provide land for public driving ranges which will go a long way in promoting golf. Chandigarh, my home town, is blessed with an excellent facility. It has a public driving range and greens which help the golfers to practise well.

Mysore is a small centre and has been producing talented golfers. Small places can produce champions and the government should chip in and promote the sport.

What are your views on the golfing scene in our country, and how good are our junior golfers?

Golf is one of the fastest growing sports disciplines in our country. The golfing scene in the country has been seeing an upward movement since the last 10 years. Many golfers a