Started at 11, Now I’m The Only Female Windsurfer to Represent India in Youth Olympics

katya coelho

Goa’s Katya Ida Coelho was the first and only Indian female windsurfer to compete in the 2014 Youth Olympics. Watch this video to see her journey of winning numerous accolades, and her attempt to bring windsurfing and iQFoiling to the limelight.

Coming from a family of sailors in Goa, Katya Ida Coelho is the first and only female windsurfer in India to compete in the Youth Olympics in 2014.

Since her childhood, Katya has always been curious and wanted to explore the big vast ocean. So, she started sailing at the age of 11 years. “Being on the water gives me a sense of freedom, gliding over the waves and just feeling the breeze brush by makes me feel wholesome,” said Katya to the Fisto Sports Team.

Her father, who has been a national champion in windsurfing, taught her this wind-propelled water sport. Windsurfing is a combination of sailing and surfing, where a windsurfer balances on the water while controlling the wind.

While training in the water, Katya used to get minor injuries, such as sunburn and rashes on her skin, due to excessive heat. In spite of the pain, she says that she had a bigger problem on her plate — the absence of female competitors in the sport. “This compelled me to take part in the men’s category,” said Katya to IncredibleGoa.

She participated in many national competitions where she had to compete with men in strength. So far, she has won 10 national golds and two Asian Open Championship bronzes in Techno 2015.

With a fierce passion for the sport, she further went on to win India’s first-ever international medal in iQFoil — the Olympic Windsurfing class, and also secured the second position at the International Windsurfing Cup in Thailand in 2022.

Katya says, “I’ve spent more time in the water than on land!”

Having had her share of success and recognition in the sport, she now aims to bring windsurfing and iQFoiling to the limelight. But, getting sponsors has been challenging for her as the media hardly covers these sports.

“I believe no sport should be put above another,” says Katya, who will soon represent India at the Asian Games for the second time in 2023.

‘Katya Coelho – Set Your Goal at Young Age and Work For it’: Written by Rajesh Ghadge for Incredible Goa, Published on 17 January 2023.
‘Katya Coelho: ‘Being on water gives me a sense of freedom, gliding over the waves and feeling the breeze brush by makes me feel wholesome’: Written by Mervin LR for Fisto Sports, Published on 10 May 2023.

Edited by Pranita Bhat

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