TALENT TALK It’s not just films; Sachet rules the pool too. RONITA TORCATO
Hands up all those who saw “Taare Zameen Par”! Did you know that Sachet Engineer — who played Yohan Awasthi or Dada, the elder brother of Darsheel Safary in the film — made a big splash recently. He snatched five gold medals, set the 50m backstroke record and bagged the individual championship while shocking India’s ace swimmer, club mate and favourite Yudhishthir Jaisingh at the 36th Maharashtra State Amateur Aquatic Association Championship in Thane.
The medals are Sachet’s latest haul in sizeable cache from wins at swimming meets all over the country. The champion (and school vice captain) from Campion School, Sachet underwent rigorous training with coach Anup Radhakrishnani at the Otters Club, Bandra, to represent Maharashtra in the National Championships at the Sawai Mansingh Pool, Jaipur from June 23 to 27. He came home with the gold for the 50 m backstroke. beating eight contenders in the finals ( and 42 in the heats) He was also part of the state relay team which bagged a silver. All of 14, Sachet, kicked off his swimming career at the age of three, and won his first gold medal at the age of five at the Annual YMCA meet. He went on to add a remarkable 400 more at the District, State and National levels.
Backstroke, freestyle, butterfly, Sachet is adept at all three. Perhaps, swimming is in his genes, his grandfather Ishwar Girdharlal Engineer was a water polo champ in his time; his parents and younger brother Anikhet also swim.Naturally, he’s dreaming of making it to the Olympics. Of course, Mark Spitz who won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics and Michael Phelps, winner of 14 career Olympic gold medals, the most by any Olympian, are his heroes. But of course. And life outside the pool? “I want to be a pilot,” says the boy whose hobby is making wooden models of planes, fairly large sized ones at that, which are stacked in a garage in his grandmother’s residence in a suburb.
Once or twice a year, he goes to the Haji Ali Race Course to have a ball with the remote controlled planes. But for now, it’s getting up at the crack of dawn to get to Bandra for a two hour swim; then hoofing it to school by 8.00 a.m. Asst. Vice Captain of his school, Sachet has also shot for an ice cream ad in South Africa. Does he want to model? Act in the movies like the great swimmer Johnny Weissmuller who was a real life as well as reel life hero? In real life, he saved eleven people when a tourist boat capsized in Lake Michigan. He also starred as “Tarzan the Ape-man” in various films. Sachet smiles, “Whatever life brings, I’m open to anything.”
Ronita is a freelance writer based in Mumbai.
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