Rower Mrunmayee on a mission
Seeks impact run in first ever single scull at Sr. level
PUNE: Rower Mrunmayee Salgaonkar’s love for the sport is a story of a different sort.
Yes, different for reasons that go beyond the usual stereotype shoutouts like hailing from a sports family background, love for the sport, school-college background, or the like father-mother like daughter types normally written about.
Picture this, Mrunmayee, back in 2015-16, set off to work on her fitness levels and tried out a couple of sports which included badminton, basketball, and rowing. “It was a self-imposed decision to work on my fitness and hence experimented with a couple of sports that appealed to me.”
In fact, her quest with sports began with a simply needed ideology and that was weight loss. It was her conscious self that led to her trying out a host of sports.
“It was fitness that I was looking at and nothing more and the best way ahead was taking up some sport… Just that in my case it was more than one sport that I tried out,” she explained.
Rowing for some reason attracted Mrunmayee the most.
“All I can say is that after trying out all sports, rowing clicked in appeal and pursuance,” Mrunmayee explains. For the Nashik-lass, the rest of her journey was negotiating the water thereafter.
It was back in 2016 when she seriously began practising as a schoolgirl. And as if rowing was the right choice, she, after two months of adaptation, moved into a competitive mode when she first represented Maharashtra at the Sub Junior Nationals at Bangalore, 2016.
While the regular practice was at a private boat club – the Nashik Water Sports Association, Mrunmayee with determination calls herself “self-made.”
Though Mrunmayee admits that rowing was “by accident”, a dig into the sports background of the Salgaonkar and one is given to understand that her father – Nilesh, was a rower.
“It was during his college days at College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) that he participated in the one-off University championship. “He was a casual rower, did not win a medal,” she says and is quick to mention, “my father had no influence on me taking up rowing.”
Having made the right choice, Mrunmayee proved herself by getting onto the podium two years later in the 2018 Junior National Rowing Championship at Bhopal. In a photo-finish end, Mrunmayee finished second to bag the silver in the Women Single Scull event.
A year later she also tasted international success bagging 2 golds and 1 silver at the 2019 Asian Rowing Indoor Championship at Pattaya, Thailand.
Having participated in 9 Nationals (including two seniors) so far, Mrunmayee embarks on a bigger mission at the 39th Senior and 23rd Open Sprints National Rowing Championships scheduled at the picturesque Army Rowing Node (ARN), CME, Pune.
For Mrunmayee, who is set for the Single Sculls event for the first time at the senior level, the Championship is all about trying to catch the eye of the sectors and a chance to don the Indian colours at the Asian Games.
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“I want to do well. It’s going to be tough,” she quips and to realistically understand her reaction one needs to know that the best of all States’ normally participate in the single skulls.
“My mission at this Nationals is a medal… a gold would be great,” she goes on and reminds that back in 2018 she had bagged silver after being pipped by Odisha’s Reshma Kumari Minz by .02s at the Upper Lake in Bhopal clocking 4:13.98s over the 1000m distance.
An achiever that she is, Mrunmayee signs off explaining that she is a rower by choice, not a rower for life, but will row at best.