Jakarta: “I have an earnest desire to leave something in this world and a profound desire to rub it in the face of anyone who doubted me,” wrote Indian Asian Games sailing team member Dayne Coelho in a social media post with a photo of him draped in the Indian tri-colour, which he had taken after winning a medal at the 37th Singapore Open Windsurfing Championship this year.
Given a cold shoulder and neglected by the Sports Authority of Goa, the teenager is now keen to script his own success story with the support of his family at the Asian Games.
Dayne, along with sister Katya, are the only athletes from the coastal state of Goa at the 18th Asian Games and had requested two windsurfing boards from the Sports Authority of Goa, the sports wing of the Goan government. But nothing was forthcoming and Coelho’s father, Donald, a former national windsurfing champion, was forced to fly to Singapore to hunt for the boards.
The Coelho’s pursuit to get an Asian Games ticket can also be attributed to individual acts of brilliance without much help from the system. The brother-sister duo attained the qualifying for the Asian games at the Yachting Association of India (YAI) selection trials held in April 16-22 in Chennai. The trials were held to select the top sailors for inclusion in the Indian sailing team for the 17th Asian Sailing Championship that was held from June 18-24 and the Asian Games 2018.
“The most disheartening thing is our state association (Goan Yatching Association), the proposal for procurement of two windsurfing boards was pending for more than four months,” coach-cum-father Donald, who leased one surf board and purchased one from his own pocket, said. “Katya and Dayne were left with zero self-esteem, ready for departure with the old equipment.”
“For Dayne, I brought a board for $700 (Dh2,571), for Katya I managed to charter one on lease paying $800 for all competition days. Thankfully my visa was valid until 2019 that allowed me to travel to Singapore in time,” revealed Donald, adding that his children were worried their efforts and hard work would fall flat.
Donald thanked YAI (Yachting Association of India), especially, Capt. Ajay Narang, a member of Task Force 2020, for standing behind them all through.
“Narang had stood by us and even strongly recommended us to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Sports Authority of India for the training programme in Thailand under the Thai coach for 21 days in the month of May in preparation for the Asian Games 2018,” said Donald, whose wards have been taking part in the Youth Olympic Class for boys and girls over the last few years and will be competing in the RS: One Mixed Team event which is open for sailors below the age of 22 years.
A senior official from the Yatching Association of India, when asked about the incident said: “There was nothing about not getting clearance or anything. The Goan government had already given the intimation, but before they could give them the equipment, the athletes had left.”