Sandeep Warrier has seen better half Aarathy Kasturi Raj's struggles over the years and as her biggest strength and pillar of support, couldn't be more proud seeing the acclaimed roller skating ace win her first Asian Games medal, a team bronze in 3000m relay in Hangzhou.
Warrier, a nippy fast medium bowler, who plays for Tamil Nadu in domestic cricket, has played IPL and also luckily got to play a T20 International during the COVID-19 hit tour of Sri Lanka in 2021, where he had gone as a net bowler.
"I'm extremely proud of her. I'm really happy that she finally made it. I've seen her struggle in the last six-seven years but she has not given up and kept at it," Warrier told PTI from Chennai.
A Roller Skater and Doctor by Profession
The 29-year-old Aarathy, who took up roller-skating at a five, won her first Asian Games medal in second appearance. This was India's first-ever medal in the speed- skating discipline.
Roller sports made its debut in the Asian Games in 2010 when Anup Kumar Yama bagged bronze in men's single free skating event before combining with Avani Panchal to finish third in the pairs skating event.
Also a doctor by profession, Aarathy, who is now pursuing PG in clinical embryology, could have given up roller-skating after a disappointing seventh place finish at Asian Games 2018.
Overcoming Challenges and Injuries
The uncertainty over the Asian Games that was delayed by a year because of the pandemic also had upset plans of many. And, Aarathy also endured a difficult time sustaining multiple cuts and bruises on her head in the sport which is very prone to injuries.
But she kept at it in pursuit of an Asian Games medal.
"I know the effort she has put in the last couple of years. I've seen it in in front of my own eyes, how she was dedicated and kept the whole focus was on this medal. I don't remember when she last took a break in two-three years'," Sandeep added.
Sandeep Warrier's Unwavering Support
"I've not seen her complain about anything. After the Games is delayed, most lose focus and intensity. But I've not seen that happen with her. There has been no drop in intensity and she would train for more than seven hours everyday.
"She was behind this Asian Games all this while. I was thinking she would win in the individual as well for the effort she has put in the last two years," he said.
On Saturday, Aarathy finished fifth in the women's speed skating 10000m point-elimination race which was an improvement of two places on her last Asian Games effort in 2018.
Daughter of a Chennai-based businessman father C Kasturi Raj and gynaecologist mother Mala Raj, Aarathy took to skating at the age of seven as her parents were keen that she takes up some form of sport.