All about the balance…

About Varsha Gautham, sport and education


Varsha is an accomplished international sailor, double Asian Games medalist and a unique character, having been through a court process to achieve selection for herself and her crew Sweta Shervagar for her second medal.  The stress and fortitude required to do this is a story in itself. Google Varsha Gautham to see the full story.

She also has a top 10 49erFX junior Worlds to her credit, and is the best achieving Indian female sailor in history.  This she has achieved through her teen years, when exams in India are critical to the status of any teenager, and the pressures for educational achievement are probably higher than any western country could imagine. She is currently sitting final exams for her college course and degree.

This blog therefore has extra value for parents who are considering the balance between sports and education.  Dedication combined with hard work means you can do both.

All about the balance…

“I started sailing when I was 8 years old, and I had choices to make even then.  Did I know I had just been introduced to the sport I would in time, call my profession? No. But what I did know was that I loved it. I loved the water, I loved the independence,  the clichéd wind in my hair and sun in my face.  Early on, the choices I had to make came in terms of Saturday school, or sailing (no brainer), Exams or Nationals and it all seemed so simple to me. It was only when I became a teenager, and started sailing full time, that I realized that these choices were all part of a bigger picture-Sport or Education,  graduation day or another day training,  school life or sailing.

I have learnt so much since I was faced with those decisions and I can only hope I made the right ones, but the thing that makes me believe that I did is that the easy choices, I know were meant to be and the difficult ones didn’t really have to be a choice, just a balance with a few priorities.

The big balance for me was education and sport. Now, anyone that knows me would say “ah the balance was really wonky because she never went to class, she was always off sailing”. Au contraire, I learnt planning and logistics, I learnt crisis management on capsizes, risk management on the racecourse, humility in my failures and hard work towards my victories, team building everyday and dedication to carry me through; just not in a business school.  This made me realize that Sport or Education is not a choice or a balance, its not even a valid statement, for Sport is Education.

The other day someone asked me if I regret anything. If I ever feel like I missed out on school because of the choices I had to make to pursue sailing, the fun and the drama while making friends who stick with you for life. I thought about it, and I have thought of it many times before the question was posed and my answer was “No” very simply because I didn’t miss out on the things he said, I did have fun and make friends, from all over the world who I dearly love all while doing something that I was so passionate about, traveling the world, experiencing new cultures, eating different food and learning and being educated about so much; Again, just not within the four walls of a classroom.  So no, I didn’t miss out on anything. Everyone else missed out on the whole world.

The choice was clear. The balance was a blur.”

Varsha Gautham


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