Aditya Choudhary, from Mumbai, holds the world record for being the Youngest Ironman 70.3 Triathlon finisher. It is a timed event involving 1.9 km swimming, followed by a 90 km bike ride and a 21 km run. He completed the event on his 18th birthday in Bahrain clocked 6hrs 5mins 4secs.
Key takeaways from his experiences:
- Surround yourself with a good support system
- Be disciplined and dedicated
- Have absolute faith in your mentor
When I was about four years old I entered the swimming pool for the first time. I still have faint recollections of my early swimming sessions and the happiness I got being in the water. After that l had several ENT issues and underwent my first surgery at the age of five. I was forbidden from swimming for a couple of years. Then, I began learning judo, which had to be stopped after a while because I required braces owing to the dental issues which were aggregated by my ENT problems. In 2012, I underwent my second ENT surgery. This time, I was permitted to resume swimming. My journey to becoming the world’s youngest Ironman began.
In 2013, I met Mr. Nayan Shah, who was the first Indian above fifty to complete an Ironman. When I heard this I was awestruck! The legal age of competing in an Ironman Triathlon is eighteen years. I knew my eighteenth birthday would come on a Saturday and there would most certainly be an Ironman which I could attempt somewhere in the world, thus I began training.
My childhood love for swimming was now supplemented with two more sports – cycling and endurance running. I began training under Dr. Mihir Patki and his team of experts. He and my father used to take me cycling in the ghats of Lonavala, to Igatpuri, and Karjat. My dad, a marathoner himself, used to accompany me for cycling and jogging at the Bombay Bandstand before office hours on weekends.
In 2016-18, I began to have respiratory problems because of blockages in my nasal passage. And it took a toll on my training, which made me unsure about my plans. In 2019, after my board exams, I got chicken pox and had to stop training for a few weeks. In June, a few months before my event I took the decision of moving to college hostel so I could train early in the morning, make it to lectures and save commute time.
As a sportsperson, discipline and dedication to your sport are inevitable and of utmost importance. But, in this journey, I realized you cannot achieve anything until and unless you have absolute faith in your mentor. Dr. Patki is my ultimate Guru and is a father figure to me. A weightlifter, a powerlifter, and an orthopedic by profession, he has trained several Ironman Triathletes and cured several patients. His team of trainers knew how to get the best out of me and supported me through it all.
In 2021, I underwent a third ENT surgery to clear blockages in my nasal passages. As I write this, I’m still recovering and in the post-operative treatment phase. I won’t give up hope, to take our tricolor across many more Ironman finish lines across the world in the future.