Meet Priyanka Jena, Mumbai's kayak champ

Three questions with Priyanka Jena, who stood first in the women’s kayak race

Q. Why did you choose an unusual sport like kayaking?
A. I have always loved kayaking for fun and adventure, but it is another thing to race. It takes a lot of mental persistence to keep your speed on even when your arms are extremely painful. However, it is safe and it is an exhilarating sport and it truly was an amazing opportunity to participate and represent The Holiday Studio at a state hosted event. This was the first Beach Meet held at Rameswaram, hosted by the Tourism Department of Tamil Nadu. Sea Kayaking is a great sport to include in water sports competitions. It is easy to learn and it is a great racing water sport.

The 29-year-old entrepreneur kayaked a distance of 400 metres within 5 minutes 16 seconds at the Ocean Kayak Women’s Single
The 29-year-old entrepreneur kayaked a distance of 400 metres within 5 minutes 16 seconds at the Ocean Kayak Women’s Single

Q. What kind of training was required? Are enough training facilities available in India?
A. Kayaking, like most adventure sport activities, is all about technique. Once you master the technique, it is about your physical fitness and mental stability. If you know how to kayak the right way and are physically fit and have done it enough for leisure, you can easily compete in such events. There are a few institutes in India that offer certificate courses in the sport. At The Holiday Studio, we are now tying up with a few of these institutes so we can guide our interested customers to get formal training in activities like kayaking, kitesurfing and surfing. People can contact us directly and we will arrange for the right schools and training programmes. India is picking up in terms of adventure sports. I am sure, soon, we will have adventurists from India competing in global adventure sports competitions.

Q. What’s next for you: your goals and ambitions?
A. The goals list is long but my next is to master surfing and start competing in surf competitions. I love water and all water based adventure activities really attract me. After diving and kayaking, surfing and kitesurfing are two sports I want to master, professionally. I hope more women are encouraged to take up adventure sports professionally in India. It is so much fun and India needs more women adventurers out there on the global platform. We should make use of our vast coastline; India has the potential to be a gorgeous water sport destination.

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