“Strength is breaking your own barriers,” says Ayesha Billimoria, a national-level track athlete.
When Ayesha met with a severe accident several years ago, she was told that her body was ‘physically destroyed’. But what people didn’t know was how much mental strength she had. Today, she’s training for the Olympics.
While athletes are known for their physical strength, it’s their inner strength that makes them what they are. Today, WIPEOUT by MyGlamm is celebrating these strong women. We spoke to three athletes, Ayesha Billimoria, Diya Nayar and Shivani Dound, all heroes in their own might, about what strength means to them.
Ayesha Billimoria dons many hats. She's a three-time 200-metre national champion, fitness trainer, author, model, influencer and is also training for the Olympics. Just like everyone, she's faced her share of ups and downs in life. In fact, even a severe bike accident in 2000, that left her with partial paralysis, couldn’t dampen her spirit. When she found herself physically weak, Ayesha tapped into her emotional strength to power through. But she didn’t let failures set her back.
“Every time someone told me I was not going to achieve something, I made sure I worked doubly hard to overcome that negativity. To me, strength is breaking my own barriers. It’s about overcoming everything you never thought you’d be able to do. No matter how physically strong you are, if you’re not mentally and emotionally strong, you’ll crumble. So I’ve learnt to become resilient and to not allow failures to affect me too much. To me, that’s strength," says Ayesha.
Most athletes start training at a young age. Diya Nayar, a 36-year-old communications professional by day, had no idea she would turn into one until a few years ago. It all began in 2012, when a friend convinced her to come along for a run. And the rest, as they say, is history. Diya joined the Nike+ Run Club in Mumbai as a pacer, and is now an American College Of Sports And Medicine (ACSM) Certified Marathon Trainer, a fitness influencer and still keeps up with her day job!
“Resilience is the only thing that can see you through any sort of crisis. It's about sticking your ground. WhenI was training for her first marathon, being resilient was the one thing that kept me going. Physical strength is something you can train for, but it's the mental strength that helps see you through it. Be it in life or in sport, being resilient and sticking it out has always got me where I wanted to be," says Diya.
If there’s someone who knows how to chase her goals, it’s Shivani Dound. The international gold-winning gymnast began her journey at the tender age of six. She then went on to win several medals in school, intercity, district, state and national level championships over the next 16 years. Shivani won a gold medal for India at the Asian Trampoline Gymnastics Championships in 2018, but there was a time when she almost gave up. Gymnastics was a new sport in India, and many people didn’t consider trampoline gymnastics as safe. In fact, even her coaches told her to ‘slow down and give my juniors an opportunity to win’.
“You need to visualise what you want--positive self-talk always helps me. Strength is about going through struggles and overcoming all the obstacles in the way. I often tell my clients, the secret of success lies in your daily routine, you have to be slow and steady. Just focus on your goal, and protect and nourish yourself. Don't let negativity get to you. Believe in yourself and stay positive, that's strength," says Shivani.
These strong women surely have us inspired. We salute their spirit, and hope to draw inspiration from their resilience.
Who’s the most powerful woman you know?
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