Hyderabad: The picturesque Hussainsagar is usually dotted with colourful sails in the monsoon months of July and August when the National Sailing championship is held here at the lake. However, this year, Covid-19 has robbed off much of the action from the lake and at the Sailing Club.
An eerie silence prevails when one walks into the Secunderabad Sailing Club. With no sporting activity ever since the lockdown was declared in March, there is a total shutdown of all sailing events. Arjun Pradipak is the son of the legendary Indian sailor late CS Pradipak, who had a close affinity with the lake. It was on this lake that late Pradipak took his initial steps before reaching the dizzy heights in water sport. “Hussainsagar was close to my father’s heart,” said Arjun.
Pradipak was a pilot turned sailor. He was a qualified pilot and an instructor at the erstwhile AP Flying Club, but sailing beckoned once he was introduced to sailing by one of his instructors. “I somehow found a lot of similarities between sailing and flying. I took a liking to sailing,’’ Pradipak had said. He became passionate about this water sport and like a duck taking to water, Pradipak began to enjoy sailing.
The Hussainsagar is always a tricky venue for sailors because of the weather conditions. It is always challenging to sail here because of surprising sudden gusts of wind from nowhere and then equally all of sudden the drop in wind speed would flummox sailors. Pradipak could read and tame the wind conditions masterfully. He pursued his ‘love’ for sailing till he achieved success.
According to Arjun, his father’s knowledge of rigging, especially in the OK dinghy was outstanding. “It was in this class of boat that he had a lot of success including the 1982 Asian Games Bronze medal in Mumbai and Commonwealth Games Bronze medal,” he says.
He has also been National champion and has won various national medals in the OK Dinghy class, Laser class and Enterprise class. He represented India on multiple occasions at the international level. He would keep himself updated and upgraded his sailing knowledge constantly and consistently. He always spoke of Hussainsagar as Hyderabad’s proud possession and repeatedly raised the issue with Government officials to clean it up.
Pradipak was instrumental in putting Hussainsagar on the yachting map of India. He was in the forefront when he brought international flavour to Hussainsagar by organising the Asia Pacific Meet. Pradipak was honoured with the Arjuna Award and later on theYachting Association of India awarded him the Lifetime achievement award in 2006, the highest award for a yachtsman in the country.
After retiring from competitive sailing Pradipak turned to coaching. Even when he was afflicted with Parkinson disease, Pradipak never lost his love for water sport, attending the national sailing event religiously before passing away in 2013.
Rightly so, Arjun and Meghna followed in their father’s footsteps. Meghana was the National Champion in Optimist class and was the first Indian woman to represent India in sailing. Arjun, too, represented India and took part in the 1998 Asian Games and was Asian Youth champion in the Laser class.
He is now qualified as a Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster and served as a captain on luxury yachts in Mumbai, Goa and Kolkata. A qualified sailing coach from both the Yachting association of India and Royal Yachting Association UK, Arjun is currently the Commodore and coach of the Secunderabad Sailing club where he has revived participation over the last four years. Three of his students have made it to the National squad.
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