Anu Vaidyanathan, Indian Ironman athlete

Youngsters should focus on work and glamorize the work they do than chasing glitz and glamour.

January 17, 2012 1:36 IST | India Infoline News Service
Anu Vaidyanathan is an only Indian Ironman athlete, trained in India, and the first person from India (male or female) to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships held in Clearwater, Florida on November 7th, 2008, Anu survived many accidents in the two years that she literally lived and breathed her triathlon ambition while training.
A B.S. in Computer Engineering (1998-2001) from Purdue University, and an M.S, Computer Engineering (2001-2002) from North Carolina State, Anu worked for IBM for a short while and decided to be her own boss and set up a consultancy firm in Bangalore with a branch office in Chennai. 
Who has been your inspiration for taking up sports?
My inspiration comes from my family and friends who have nudged me into running, cycling and swimming. I do admire many sports persons, but do not have any one specific person to name. I'm also inspired by the Indian women who take out take their valuable time from their busy household chores to jog at 5 am, keeping in mind that they have a long day ahead to finish. It’s commendable to see people, especially Indian women participating in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon and giving their fullest at such events.
You have a PhD in Electrical Engineering, hacked Linux and open source at IBM and have taught at IIT and IIM. What interests you more sports or the tech world or is it the teaching?
I got my PhD in the year 2010 and I set a University record by graduating in 26 months. I have worked with IBM for couple of years. I was teaching at IIT and gave a break as I got married and settled in Ahmedabad where I again took up teaching at IIM Ahmedabad. I enjoyed teaching as I met some wonderful kids but sports is definitely what I love the most.


Brief us on your collaboration with Timex?

I am really proud, happy and will be associated with Timex as long as I can. They are more performance driven, very supportive and make themselves available whenever in need.
What are your future plans, any upcoming races? How are you preparing for the same?
My future plans are to plan my race and cover the distances. I will continue and keep up my job to represent India at the best I can. I have a Couple of Ironman races in the month May or June and a couple of half Ironman. I do few sessions of each sport, every week which also includes a serious gym routine. 
What would you say are your achievements as a Triathelete? Between swimming, cycling and running what stresses you the most?
My biggest achievement was when I competed in an Ultraman Triathlon in Canada and finished at 35.13.58 hours and bagged sixth position making myself the first and only Asian woman to complete it. Probably cycling is the most stressful as it is very difficult to find a good stretch of road. 
We are always underestimated and it’s a testimony to say that we are very close to Africans in terms of athletic link ups; we definitely have the endurance and power to achieve athletically.
The Government is often blamed for lack of support provided to sportspersons. How has your experience been?
I completely agree that the government doesn’t support sportsperson, but I am not a person who will complain and it’s not worth the time to discuss. I take it in a positive note that I have accomplished myself as a Triathelete and I have Timex to support me moving forward.
Your message to youngsters-especially how to balance work and sports.  
My message to youngsters is to focus on work and glamorize the work you do than chasing glitz and glamour, it will come your way just wait for the right time. Set your goals and when you’re clear about how to go about them, don’t back out. I definitely don’t preach balance. I think it’s a very over rated concept to define. I believe to be someone really great, you need to be unbalanced.

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