Wheels to Wings Rise of Shraddha Gaikwad in Skateboarding

Wheels to Wings: Rise of Shraddha Gaikwad in Skateboarding

Success Stories

“Every ounce of what I am today, I owe it to this sport.” 

What ignites a dream? For Shraddha Gaikwad, it all began with a simple routine. She used to deliver meals to her father at Decathlon. But one day, she spotted a skateboarder. That one sighting sparked a fire within her, leading this girl from a small town to become a golden name in the country’s skateboarding history.

Shraddha hails from Beed, a less-developed area in Maharashtra. Her father came to Pune along with his family in search of better job opportunities. He got a security guard job in the Decathlon store. At the tender age of 12, Shraddha’s routine after school included a visit to the store every afternoon to deliver lunch box to her father. However, a fortuitous moment changed the course of her days.

Shraddha Gaikwad

One fateful day, she saw a customer trying to ride a skateboard. That sight captivated her attention. Mesmerised by the board’s movements, young Shraddha started to learn skateboarding after giving food to her father.

When Shraddha Gaikwad Got Her Professional Training

In a skateboarding workshop organised by the store, coach Swapnil Magar saw Shraddha skating with utmost passion. Impressed by her zeal and enthusiasm for skateboarding, Magar decided to mentor and train Shraddha under his guidance. That’s when Shraddha started getting her regular skateboarding training. 

Shraddha Gaikwad, a renowned Skateboarder

“In that workshop, Magar sir asked me to show him my skills in skateboarding. I rode the board, pouring my heart into each movement. He was impressed and started training me every Saturday and Sunday,” mentioned Shraddha with gratitude. 

The Contribution of The Store Manager

Decathlon’s store manager Abu Sheikh saw Shraddha riding her skateboard barefoot. Moved by her dedication, Sheikh approached her with a heartfelt gesture.

“He asked me to pick up a pair of shoes and a skateboard from the store,” recounted Shraddha. “I hesitated, expressing my inability to buy such expensive shoes and skateboard. But he assured me that they were free of charge. It was overwhelming, I couldn’t hold back my tears.”

Jugaad International Skateboarding Competition

Shraddha Gaikwad

It was the time for Shraddha to show her skills on a national platform. Her family wasn’t sure as they thought that girls had no place in such a sport but her coach convinced her family.  She finally participated in the Jugaad International Skateboarding Competition held in Bengaluru. 

“It was a whole new world for me,” recalled Shraddha. “Boarding an aeroplane for the first time, I was overwhelmed by a mix of excitement and nervousness. Arriving at the skateboard park and surrounded by unfamiliar faces, I got nervous. I had never seen such a grand setup.”

To her surprise, Shraddha found herself recognised by many as Swapnil Magar had created an Instagram account where he uploaded her skateboarding videos. 

Overcoming all her fears, Shraddha showed her talent which earned her a Bronze medal in the competition. That’s when she successfully etched her name into the annals of skateboarding success.

Gold In National Games

In her first-ever national-level competition, Shraddha bagged a gold medal in street skateboarding. “Every ounce of what I am today, I owe it to this sport,” reiterated Shraddha.

Shraddha has made her appearance in a Netflix movie, ‘Skater Girl’, directed by Manjari Makijany and produced by Vinati Makijany. The national-level winner has won many medals in her career. She now sets her sights on a grander stage—an Olympic medal. 

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