With sports shoes as her armour to conquer the world, Himani Anand is a young and passionate sportswoman by heart. She has competed in national and international arenas and has worked her way to the top. The multitalented individual was also part of a beauty pageant and proudly portrays her athletic grooming on the runway.
In conversation with Storiyaan, Himani Anand shares details about her life as an athlete, the difficulties she faced in her journey, the role of her coach in her life; and much more. If you’ve ever thought, “Log Kya Kahenge”, Himani Anand’s words are sure to inspire you and push to you be your most authentic self.
Questions and answers
What inspired you to get into sports at a young age?
I come from a long line of sportspersons. My aunt was an international Judo player. Looking at her ignited a fire within me and I strived to be the best. I remember when I was in the 5th standard; I participated in a race and lost. It was quite disheartening, but I kept training; and the following year I succeeded.
Can you talk about some challenges that came with competing at the national and international level in sports?
The main challenge I faced was my father’s disapproval of my athletic career. Convincing him about my willpower to run on the track was a hard nut to crack. I remember there was a state championship for which it was initially hard to train. At times, training required me to miss classes and this worried my father. My schedule has always been hectic and tiring. However, I don’t consider it training, but something which groomed me up for today.
What has been the impact of your coach, Harkamal Singh on your life?
I initially thought he was very strict. He was one who never discriminated between girl and boy and always treated us all the same. As a person he has completely changed me, he made me more professional and goal-oriented. He made sure that I was well equipped to cross every barrier life placed before me. He was like my father on the field; and I can never thank him enough.
What rekindled the fine in you to start running again?
When I was in the 12th standard, unfortunately my father fell ill and my focus shifted from sports to work. Only if I worked, I could support my mother, so I did what I had to and left sports. In 2016, I realized that the company I was working for had a tie-up with marathon platforms. So, I thought of trying to complete a marathon. Initially my in-laws had a problem with it, but after making them understand, they supported me.
What challenges did you face when you decided to get back on the tracks again?
The denial I faced from my in-laws was a challenge for me. However, I made up my mind to do whatever makes me happy and I reasoned with him and explained that I had to complete what I set my heart on. It took me 5 years to understand the real me; and I couldn’t be happier.
How does being a model and a sportsperson integrate into your life and how do you manage to maintain a balance between your passion, profession and your personal life?
Modeling is just about participating and grooming yourself to be a good pageant. It combined my sports side and fitness side and it boosted my confidence. I’ve always wanted to get on a platform where I can showcase my sports grooming; and this was my opportunity to do just that. Apart from this, the reason I am able to maintain the perfect balance between my professional and personal life is all thanks to my boss, Mr. Nilaya Varma, CEO of Primus Partners.
Since the pandemic has restricted our movements, how have you managed to stay active and fit?
Being a mother, I have a hectic schedule; packed with activity, and that is just like physical exercise. I created a playground and I’ve found time for my regular workouts through activities with my son.
What did you learn from your mentors during the pageant?
Everything I learned from my experience was all thanks to Mrs. Barkha Nangia, and all the contestants. We were restricted to do many things during the pageant, but we gradually understood that it was all grooming us to be the best. Mrs. Nangia treated us like family, and her husband, Mr. Abhishek Nangia also supported us and made sure that we’re not compromising our dignity. Our runway director at the pageant, Mr. Shie Lobo actually made me believe that athletes can wear heels too. They have truly been a blessing to me from God.