Mayurakshi Mukherjee

The rowing champion

Mayurakshi Mukherjee was excelling in karate and basketball at school when she decided to go against the flow. She set her mind on becoming a rower. People wondered and the questions started creating little ripples – who has heard of a woman rower in India?

Following her dreams of becoming a rower was anything but smooth sailing! All through school, Mayurakshi excelled at karate and basketball, thus breaking the stereotypical avataar of a woman right from a young age. But there was still a passion she wanted to dip her toe into - rowing.

The questions that probably came to your mind right now were ones a lot of other people shared. Who has heard of a woman rower in India? What are the chances of doing well in a sport that not many have heard of? Isn’t it foolish to waste time changing lanes when you’re already excelling in another sphere?

But Mayurakshi was born to go against the flow. What allured her was the joy of starting over, taking baby steps, and seeing where the road, or should we say “stream”, takes her. And she did create some ripples!

Mayurakshi won Asian Indoor Rowing Championship medals in the Open category for India and became the first rower from West Bengal to achieve that feat in three decades. More medals followed suit and suddenly everyone became aware of a sport called ‘rowing’.

“The biggest challenge for me has always been balancing my passion for rowing along with the necessity of education,” says Mayurakshi, who is currently pursuing a B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Heritage Institute of Technology, Kolkata.

As for the toughest part of being a rower - she says it’s the lack of role models in India… someone from whose experiences one can learn. Well, it’s a good thing the future generation of rowers has nothing to worry about. Mayurakshi has tested the waters for them already

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