Rehan Poncha On Switching Sports | Verve Magazine
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June 15, 2016

Rehan Poncha On Switching Sports

Text by Zaral Shah. Photograph by Tejal Pandey

After making waves in pools, ace swimmer and Arjuna Award winner Rehan Poncha has set his sights on golf

Olympian Rehan Poncha — who has won the best athlete award in two editions of the National Games and is also a six-time national champion — has switched sports and is hoping to continue his winning streak on land. The 29-year-old is gearing up to face new challenges, this time in the world of golf.

Born and raised in Mumbai, Rehan shifted base to Bengaluru to focus on swimming — and the pool soon became another way of life for the young boy who swiftly mastered the laps. He says, “I love being in the spotlight and when I started winning, it really gave my confidence level a boost. If not a swimmer, I probably would’ve picked shooting or one of the precision sports since I was a very good shot when I was little. For me, it always had — and it still has — to be something competitive.”

A strong-willed person, Rehan’s biggest learning as a sportperson has been about perseverance. He affirms, “You just have to stick to it. You have to stay on your path whatever it may be…and to me, that perseverance has come from the pool and what I have learnt from my first sport.”

Although he is constantly surrounded by people, when not working, the versatile athlete enjoys “burrowing into my home theatre. I love watching movies…my favourites are A Beautiful Mind, and Scent of a Woman and, as a kid, I really enjoyed watching Gladiator. And it was a movie — The Greatest Game Ever Played — that motivated me to take up golf.”

He has set his goals with due determination. “In 2016, I am definitely going to be good enough to play my first round of amateur qualifiers in golf and will try to finish in the top 30 in the country.” And being “the best golfer India has ever seen, limitless success and living life on my terms” are other points on his bucket list.

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