Chelsea Lewis is a Track and Field athlete who was the recipient of the Abhinav Bindra Scholarship award for excellence 2018-2019. She has been an excellent athlete since a very young age having competed in several sports. She won the Gold medal for the 4×100m relay at the 5 District Open Track and Field Championship 2018 in the under-16 category. She won gold at the Bombay YMCA State level Athletic meet in the U16 Girls’ medley relay. She also has a silver medal in the long jump at the Goa State Athletic Championship 2016.
In an exclusive interview with SpogoNews, Track and Field athlete Chelsea Lewis talks about her journey in athletics and career accolades. She also talks about the challenges of recovering from serious injury and her idol in track and field. She further talks about her plans for the future as an athlete
Q 1) How did your journey in athletics begin and what motivated you to pursue it professionally?
I began my journey when I was about 12 years old. I’ve always been someone who was incredibly competitive and enjoyed playing every sport imaginable. Track and field, sprinting in particular seemed to pique my interest and I instantly fell in love with the sport. I firmly believe my sprinting career was greatly influenced by my coach ‘Firoz sir’. He inspired me to train hard, be persistent and disciplined to achieve my goals while making each and every mentally and physically strenuous training session more enjoyable. The track for me was the one place where I truly believed I could be authentically myself and feel the most sane and alive at the same time.
I always love a challenge and have always wanted to test my mental and physical capabilities.
Q 2) You have achieved a number of accolades in your career, which one is most special for you and why?
If I have to choose one special moment in my track and field career so far, it would be winning the silver in the 200m of the Five District Open track and field championship a couple of years ago. Earlier in the competition, I was completely shattered after being disqualified in the 100m on account of a false start. Despite being nervous and low in confidence before the start of the 200m I did my best to keep my composure and eliminate that moment from my head. I focused on the upcoming 200m final and breaking my personal best. Overcoming the disappointment and going on to come 2nd in the 200m was a truly memorable moment for me which I will always cherish.
Q 3) How did it feel to receive the Abhinav Bindra Scholarship award for Excellence in 2018/2019?
It was incredibly exhilarating; I felt extremely privileged to have received this award from the Olympian himself. I believe receiving this award gave me this sense of reassurance of my true potential in Track and Field.
Q 4) What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in your career so far? How did you overcome them?
I believe injuries constitute one of the most common occurrences in an athlete’s career span. Coming back from a serious injury is, in my opinion, one of the most challenging, demanding, both physically and mentally taxing situations I’ve ever gone through. I tore my ACL while training a while ago, and I do believe it impacted my athletic career. Nonetheless, I am optimistic that with the conditioning, rehab, and mental support from my parents and coach, I will be able to return to the track in the coming months stronger and more resilient than ever.
Q 5) Who were some of your idols in sports while you were growing up and why?
Sydney Mclaughlin is one of my biggest idols in Track and field. She’s an exceptional 400m sprint- hurdler who has broken the world record not once but multiple times. I’ve been following her for over a while now. To me what truly fascinated me about her was the fact that she was only sixteen when she represented the USA at the Rio Olympic Games. She is by far one of the most calm and composed athletes I’ve ever seen; she has always remained grounded regardless of her former achievements and always puts in the work to reach her targets set; which is something I believe truly resonates with me when it comes to competing in sport. She breaks barriers and doesn’t leave anything to chance, which is why I consider her to be one of my greatest idols.
Q 6) What are your future goals and aspirations? How do you plan to accomplish them?
I am currently pursuing a B.Sc degree in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Bath, UK, and in rehab for my ACL injury. In the next couple of months, I plan to return to sprinting and on the track fitter than ever. I do see myself pursuing a career in sports; whether it would mean competing professionally or using my knowledge and experiences from my degree and as an athlete to make an improvement in the world of sports while at the same time, help athletes maximize their performances and ultimately reaching their highest potential.
Also read: Athletics is one of the main building blocks of my identity: Kimaya Tandon