Ganga Shinghal introduces Enakshi: A girl whose high speed deliveries are feared by every guy on campus, a multifaceted talent with excellence in cricket , football, athletics and badminton, not to mention her unrelenting enthusiasm for cross country running, Enakshi has earned herself a name in the field of sports in MIT and MU. She has served as the Joint Sports Secretary in the student council of MIT, Captained the MU women’s cricket team, was the first ever girl in the entire university to get selected for the Karnataka state cricket team and represented Manipal University in the All-India Inter University Cross Country Meet at Moodbidri in2015 and 2016. She is a passionate cyclist and does upto 20-30 km on her bike on a daily basis.
Enakshi is often addressed with titles like “Little Champ” and “Hero” for her endless energy and never-say-die spirit. She has participated in various open cross country tournaments in Udupi and Dehradun. She is also the Ombudsman of the MIT Football League and is an inspiration for dozens of girls to take up sports and fitness. Her high level of athleticism and fitness is exhibited in running, adventurous activities and team sports and makes her a true leader. Here’s her amazing story. We hope that, seeing how she has shattered all stereotypes and barriers for girls in sports, every woman will be encouraged to take it up.
How did you start running and when?
I still remember the exact date 23rd August 2014, when I stood on the starting line of my first ever cross country race, wondering whether I’d be able to even finish it. I looked around to see some seniors wearing yellow college jerseys, doing their last minute stretches, and seeming so professional. This fascinated me so much; this was something I always wanted to do – sports had always been an integral part of my life, and I knew this was the time to let go of everything that had been building inside.
I did get my first college medal, but more than that the experience was exhilarating. I had never felt so happy and content. It gave me a sense of freedom, like I had broken through something that had been holding me back. I knew I had entered a new world, a beautiful world of distance running.
What has been your motivation to continue running?
People ask me why I get up at 5 in the morning just to run, putting one foot in front of another and after all the pain, ending up right where I started(on the track). Well, running doesn’t have logic on its side. It’s a rhetorical question, but you know deep inside each runner has their reasons.
Its simple: running brings us joy, a strange joy. The more you run, you begin to feel strangely elated, detached yet at the same time connected, connected to yourself. With nothing but our own two legs carrying us forward, we begin to get a vague sense of who, or what we really are.
What are your running achievements?
As far as my achievements are concerned, I would say I am just a beginner in this beautiful sport, but surely I have come a long way from not being able to run 5km at a stretch to represent the University at an All India Cross Country Championship for two consecutive years.
I did have some podium finishes in and around Manipal and back at my hometown Dehradun, but much more than those medals, it’s the satisfaction that you get after crossing the finish line. There is no greater feeling than realizing that you just did something that you previously thought was impossible. Achieving my personal goals and discovering my own limits have been my biggest accomplishments.
What are your other achievements considering you play so many sports and were part of the student council of MIT?
Besides running, I love Cricket and football, and still aspire to become a professional cricketer. Right from leading the school team to the university team or being a part of the sports council, sports have taught me a lot about life. Perseverance, sacrifice, discipline, teamwork – just being on the field taught me all.
Being a girl, playing male-dominated sports such as cricket and football has always been a herculean task, but for me being able to motivate or encourage a single girl to take up the sport or continue to follow her passion, is one of my biggest accomplishments.
What is your training schedule like?
My usual training schedule, is a mix of speed training, interval training and jogging. I love to train alongside the peaceful Manipal Lake, where I see people of all ages running peacefully and motivating each other. Also regular activities like football and cycling help me maintain my stamina levels.
How is it running in your hometown?
Dehradun, is undoubtedly a runner’s paradise, running amidst the nature, through the mountains makes the experience all the more worthwhile. There is something about the place, maybe the greenery or the elegant mountains that urges you to go outdoors, feel the breeze, and run through it all.
What are your future goals in running?
My immediate goals include being more regular, pushing my body’s limits and working on improving my timings. But my ultimate aim is to finish a full marathon one day, which has always been on my bucket list.
What has distance running taught you?
Distance running is much more than just a sport. It teaches you life lessons. You realize your body is much capable then what you ever dreamed of, you begin to see potential in everyone and there’s something about deliberately moving forward that reminds you that everything is going to be OK. It teaches you the importance of enjoying the journey rather than the destination. If you spend your life waiting to celebrate, you’ll miss all the moments that make up life. It’s okay to look forward to things, but you have to learn to enjoy the ride.
Do you have a favorite motivational person and a quote?
My greatest inspiration are my own teammates and one of my closest friends Dakshesh Patani
and Ganga Shinghal
, who have set real life examples and whose dedication and humility motivates me to work harder each day and strive to excel.
This quote from my favorite movie Rocky which keeps me going, no matter what:
But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!