Cricketer Sandeep Warrier has been witness to his wife, Aarathy Kasturi Raj’s struggles across the years. Being her biggest source of strength and support, he couldn’t be more proud witnessing his wife get the acclaimed roller skating win with her first medal at the Asian Games, a bronze for the team 3000m relay.
Warrier himself is a fast bowler who plays for Tamil Nadu in domestic cricket and has also played in the Indian Premier League. He also got the chance to play for India in a T20 international game during the tour in Sri Lanka in 2021 when COVID-19 was prevalent and Warrier had travelled as a net bowler.
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.
The 29-year-old Aarathy, who took up roller skating at a five, won her first Asian Games medal in her 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 the 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 the Asian Games 2018.
The uncertainty over the Asian Games which was delayed by a year because of the pandemic also upset the plans of many. , 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 front of my own eyes, how she was dedicated and kept the whole focus on this medal. I don’t remember when she last took a break in two-three years’,” Sandeep added.
“I’ve not seen her complain about anything. After the Games was 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 every day “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 a gynaecologist mother Mala Raj, Aarathy took to skating at the age of seven as her parents were keen that she take up some form of sport.
“It just happened for her. Her parents were adamant that she should join some sport and she tried out swimming, badminton and tennis but skating was something that clicked for her. I guess the speed of skating just thrills her,” said the pacer.
But the medium-pacer said if the “love for speed” was not the common connection it clicked for them instantly after they first met during a function in 2016.
Their story is that of a “skater-got-bowled’ — the name of their Instagram page — after they “clicked” instantly when Warrier, a Ranji Trophy cricketer, went to an event in a college in Chennai.
“I met her in 2016 when I was there for an event in her college. She was the sports head of that college. That’s how I met her,” Warrier who got married to Aarathy in 2019, fondly recollects.
“It just happened for us. I was just lucky enough to meet her that day. The time we spent together then just clicked for us,” Warrier, who made his IPL debut in the 2019 season for KKR, added.
“She’s very hardworking. It was quite hectic for her but she had the passion. She will train in the morning, go to her college and then again go for training. Skating has been a pure passion for her. She loves to skate which has kept her going I would say,” he said.
“I know what she has gone through in the last few years. More than struggle, I would say the dedication she has put in the past one and half years made it for her.” “We don’t talk about each other’s sports. Basically, we talk a lot about training and our diets, but not about each other’s sport.” Even for couples who pursue professional sports, it becomes important to give each other space as and when needed.
“We give each other space. She likes to be in her own space with her skating and I also like to be in my own space in cricket. She started following cricket recently but is not very much into cricket. But I follow her races a lot and accompany her to all National events,” he added.
The Kerala cricketer, who is now employed with India Cements, has also moved his base to Chennai and joined Tamil Nadu four seasons ago.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)