Earlier this month, Delia Zanoschi and Tum Preugpaibul (RCs) announced the winners of the inaugural HBS exceptional athlete awards, an initiative they started this year to recognize the best athletes at HBS. This week, Delia and Tum interviewed HBS Class of 2016 exceptional athlete winner Rahul Lele.
RAHUL LELE: SQUASH
SECTION F, MUMBAI, INDIA
When did you start?
I started really young when I was 5-6. Growing up in India, the typical sports you play are cricket, badminton and other indoor games. I just took to badminton and was good at it, so I started playing more and more often. Plus I was a chubby kid so everyone found it funny that this chubby kid is trying to move and is also trying to be great at it.
What influence your coach had on you?
My ex-colleague, who is a 45 year old state champion in Germany was my coach in a way. He helped improve my technique, gave tips to improve my footwork and mental game. He proved that you could play the sport at a very high level irrespective of your age. Plus, he has this immense capacity for finding humor in almost all situations and does not let much faze him.
At the beginning, I was super competitive but there comes a point where every time you lose you become miserable . So in time, I learnt to stop feeling miserable and start competing with myself. “Did I do better than my last time” “If not, what I could have done better”. So my advice would be to focus on yourself rather than others, this will not only make you better but also happier.
What sports will you encourage your children to play?
So I want one of my kids to play tennis, one to play golf, one to play soccer, at least one of them will make it big …just kidding… Honestly, I will get them to play as many sports as possible at a young age and they will pick what they like. They will find their own way.