Olympian for Indian kids

Olympian for Indian kids

Passing by

Olympian for Indian kids

Enthusiasm and vigour are clearly visible on Natasha Watley’s face when she guides young sportsperson of Delhi University on the basics of softball at Maitreyi College.

For two hours, the two time Olympic gold and silver medallist (2004 and 2008), Natasha moves with speed and agility across the huge grounds, shouting out clear instructions on how to take a catch or throw the softball correctly. Not only that, she personally attended to every aspirant on ground to make them understand the fundamentals of the game.

It was Natasha’s first visit to the country and since she was engrossed in her coaching session she hardly got time to see the Capital. However, Metrolife got an opportunity to speak to her and her passion.

“I started playing softball when I was five. My game was confined to home lawn where I used to play with the other kids. When I was in school, I started playing softball with friends. But nothing was serious until my teachers noticed my calibre as a player and diverted me to take up the game seriously,” recalls Natasha.

But one has to pay the price for everything that he/she earns in life. And Natasha was no different. To become an Olympian and that too twice, came with Natasha’s decision to sacrifice her basic education. “To be a sportsperson requires a lot of sacrifice. I couldn’t complete my high school because I had to play a match in Japan. I never looked back and kept on playing to achieve the highest point of my career.”

She does not regret not finishing school because she believes that her sacrifice has not gone waste and she is someone today, who travels the world over to deliver what she has learned in all these years and to guide students like her who aspire to achieve something in their life. 

Putting all her efforts into create best sportspersons, Natasha has set up Natasha Watley Foundation (NWF) to help bring the sport of softball to young girls in the smaller cities of the US. “The foundation provides an opportunity for young women to compete in leagues and on teams when financial resources are limited,” she says.

Supporting female participation in sports, she says, “It is always difficult to draw attention of girls towards sports. I think it is important to encourage them and give them opportunities to learn something new. This is, however, not easy but girls should be persuaded to be part of any of the sports at every level - be it high school or college.”

What has been her experience with the Indian players? “Kids seem to be excited and interested in sports here. It is just a matter of following their passion. It is for the government to introduce new events where upcoming sportsperson can participate.”