Updated: Apr 14
“I had no idea how much pressure you get from competing at such a big event where hundreds of people are cheering and keeping their eyes on you. It was nerve-wracking and I couldn’t execute my plans. I ended up last on the point table with 160 points. However, I was happy to be part of the female pro category and sharing the experience with so many amazing kayakers and human beings from the community”, says Pinky who is just 7 months old in the field of Kayaking.
Priyanka Rana, 17 years old born and grew up by the side of mother river Ganga and the place called Sirasu which is also known as “Village of River Guides and Kayakers”. Alongside Kayaking, she loves to play other outdoor games like Kabaddi, kho kho, running, badminton. Priyanka says her father works at rafting campsite and her mother and grandmother are housewives.
Priyanka says kayaking and riding waves came naturally in me as I was always surrounded by national and international kayakers and out of all these things I could not be happier to growing up in the family with world-known kayaker and rescue trainer Bhupi Rana who is also a founder of Ganga Kayak Festival, Sandeep Rana a very well known river guide in India and Norway and my sister Sunita Rana. She broke the trend of women practicing Kayaking and being the first Indian female kayaker and first licensed Indian female river guide. I grew up watching these people. And because I have always wanted to try something different than usual and I could not think of anything but kayaking.
I was also very impressed by Kopal Goyal (Founder of Inspire Crew). Once I met her in Delhi and then she came to Sirasu village to make a documentary on my sister Sunita Rana. She told me that I should do something different and I was sold. I am really thankful to these people for encouraging me which helped me to find my strength and get into Kayaking.
Priyanka is pursuing her graduation in bachelor’s degree (1st year) in sociology, world & Indian history, and Hindi from PG collage Rishikesh.
Pinki also enjoys reading books, painting, watching kayaking movies and she is always curious to try my hands on something new and deferent.
"Every year I used to witness local female kayakers like Naina Adhikari and other international kayakers competing in the event. So this year at Ganga Kayaking Festival which is an annual open international kayaking competition, I was very impressed and wanted to do it myself being a performer and not as an audience.
I started watching kayaking videos especially women kayakers from around the globe. I knew that kayaking is not easy as these pro kayakers make it look so finally, I tried my hands on kayaking about 5 months back and my goal was to compete at GKF 2020 in Feb and perform.
And my goals are to be the best kayaker and to make my coach, family and my country proud. I’m very grateful to have such a dedicated coach and friend Manish Rawat (team NRS paddler) who is always there for me and teaches me every detail of kayaking on and off the river. I also believe in giving it back to the community by teaching to the local youth, especially young girls.
When we asked Priyanka how does she manage between her studies and passion, she says my brother Bhupi Rana always tells me that the world’s busiest and laziest person both have 24 hours a day. It’s all about time management. I’m doing my graduation by private correspondent so I could give full time to my kayaking and travel. I have recently been to Gujrat for 3 weeks of training on the Narmada River right before the GKF 2020 which helped me a lot. I am very grateful to my cousin Rishi Rana (team NRS paddler and owner of Camp Sea Hawk) for hosting me in Gujrat.
After training really hard for the last 5 months I was confident and comfortable running the class 4/4+ rapid. Hence I registered myself in the pro category. My goal was to give my 100% and do well. I had no idea how much pressure you get from competing at such a big event where hundreds of people are cheering and keeping their eyes on you. It was nerve-wracking. However, I was happy to be part of the female pro category and sharing the experience with so many amazing kayakers and human beings from the community. I have made so many great friends at the fest. I will train even harder and will be back much stronger next year! I would like to thank everyone for all your support. Again, huge thanks to the team GKF for appreciating my efforts and nominating me as a “Best Debut Award Winner”.
Priyanka is so concerned while telling her story and she thanks readers for reading this far.
"My message for my readers would be that if you have any goals in life then start pursuing it from now on. Just believe in yourself, be confident and go for it. Only people will reach their destination who has started walking towards it."
"I also truly believe that the right education is the key. Hence grab every opportunity to educated yourself."