While most girls her age were busy playing with toys, Poorva Joshi took a rather unconventional approach to spending her weekends. She rigorously played four different sports and even became the holder of a Guinness World Record in indoor skydiving.
“I want to be a pilot or an astronaut one day. My idol is Kalpana Chawla and I want to follow in her footsteps and make India proud. I am clear about what I want to do,” says an excited and perky 12-year-old Poorva Joshi, and you cannot help being amazed at her determination and clarity about her goals.
Born in Delhi, Poorva currently lives in Singapore. She is not your regular school goer—this eighth grader jumps from skies and shoots with guns. She practices and follows not just one but four sports rigorously, which include indoor skydiving, 10m rifle shooting, fencing, and athletics.
“I don’t remember when and how I developed this passion for sports. We shifted to Singapore when I was eight years old. I love discovering new things and following different sports. So I started with fencing and gradually started indoor skydiving (which is my favourite sport) and other sports three years ago,” she says.
Poorva has won 10 medals in fencing, three medals in 10m rifle shooting, and even holds a Guinness World Record for indoor skydiving.
“Indoor skydiving is a sport which gives you a feel for actual skydiving, but in a more secure environment. It is almost as good as an actual skydive,” explains Poorva.
The Guinness World Record came into her kitty when she was just 10 and had recently started participating in the sport. It was a group award for most number of children inside a tunnel at the lowest wind speed and Poorva was one of the children in the tunnel.
“We were 14 people in that tunnel and I had just begun diving then. I guess that award gave me the confidence to go further with this sport because initially I was a bit scared to do so. But once you try it you feel like a bird,” says Poorva.
Soon, Poorva will be seen doing a formal tandem skydive in Australia this October. She will be assisted by a trainer since she does not weigh enough to go all by herself.
When Poorva was in India she had participated in the 4th Under-12 National Fencing Championship held in Nashik. She won a bronze medal, which was awarded by then Delhi CM Sheila Dixit.
She is also a gold medalist in the Singapore Z-Fencing 2014 competition in the Under-14 Foil Mixed Team category.
In addition to this, the young girl also has a score of 385.7 in 10m rifle shooting for women. “This is one of the best score among children of my age internationally. Most of the children have a score of somewhere near 360, but I have 385.7. Also, adult players have a score of somewhere around 400, I am aiming for that now,” she says.
For someone as young as Poorva, who has her studies to focus on along with participating in these sports, the challenge initially was to manage her time. But today she has a set schedule, which involves attending school Monday to Friday, practicing fencing on Friday and Saturday, shooting and athletics every Sunday, and skydiving once in every two weeks.
Poorva believes leading this life full of studies and sporting activities has helped her become a stronger person. “I have learnt to be more focused now, learnt to work with a team, and most importantly I have overcome my fears,” she says.
Giving credit for all her success to her family, especially her father, Poorva says she wants to make her country proud as an astronaut. She also wants to have a successful career in skydiving and rifle shooting.
“Earlier, I used to wonder how I would do all this? How will I handle a rifle that is so heavy? But I did and it happened so easily. Similarly, I wondered how I would do indoor sky diving…but I just went out there and it was wonderful,” she says.
We wish this little sports star every success in the future.