Hyderabad: Mohammed Israj Ali is a rookie but within a short period of time, this young sailor has made rapid strides in this sport. The EME Sailing Association (EMESA) sailor took to the sport during the 2014 Hyderabad Sailing Week and caught the attention with impressive show on the waters.
A native of Belhari, in Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur district, Israj’s tryst with destiny occurred when the army man was drafted to Military College of Mechanical Engineering (MCEME) in Trimulgherry, Hyderabad.
It was love at first sight for Israj when he saw sailors practising in the waters of the Hussain Sagar Lake. There couldn’t be a sport more adventurous, he thought. And his instincts couldn’t let him sit at shore as he longed to be in the water.
“The sport thrilled me to the core. It was different from other game and it was adventurous. Something I was looking forward too, said Israj, who never had any experience in the waters other than swimming.
“I used to play cricket but that was in my hometown. But this took me to another level. I really wanted to try it out,” he recollects happily.
To Israj’s luck, he fell into hands of former national champion BK Rout under whom he learnt the nuances of water sport. But his first stint off shore in 2014 was not of much credit as he found it difficult to tackle and find his way forward among a group of big boys in the Laser category.
Blessed with a good physique, and banking on his coach’s advice the army man managed to hold on and finish off the proceedings but not to his heart’s content.
A disappointing start to his journey did not tamper his hunger to perform. In fact it made him push harder. Two years later he returned on full throttle brimming with confidence. And this time he decided to take a shot at two events- the laser radial and the laser standard of the 2016 Hyderabad Sailing Week.
“It was too hard for me. Two categories at the same time I found it difficult to manage. My body couldn’t respond to my minds needs. I needed to stop but I didn’t.” But at last the doomed happened. He fell ill.
He was left with the task to make a decision, a decision that could prove to be a turning point in his career as a sailor. At last he opted to go for the smaller sail and it proved to be a wise one as he won a bronze (Laser radial).
The bronze medal in the laser standard class of the Goa International Sailing Week held in March in Cidade de Goa this year proved to be a major boost for the UP man waiting to show his prowess on the big stage.
Unlike other big shots who boast of years of experience, Israj puts his bet on his natural skills, zeal and immense confidence to shine when the Hyderabad Sailing Week once again ticks off at the Hussain Sagar Lake. And this time he is up for the challenge. He has moved up the ladder into the standard class and is waiting to conquer the waters and return with jewels.