From pursuing football as a hobby to winning the Champions of India title – Ashutosh Mehta on going beyond self-doubt

Raised in a middle class family in Mumbai, I had a strong inclination towards sports since I was young. It all started in 8th grade when I took to playing football as just a hobby, only to realize my passion for the sport. I have been fortunate to have a family that has always been supportive of my decisions and their endearing support motivated me to begin my professional training. However, after 15 seasons of hardwork and undivided effort, my life took a drastic turn. I was serving as an active team captain when suddenly we were told that our coach had been replaced.

To my dismay the new coach didn’t approve of me as the captain, even though I did a commendable job as team leader. It felt like I had been kicked out of my own home. Regardless, I kept my spirits up and pushedmyself to take such obstacles positively. Around this time, my ex coach had signed up for the Aizawl team and to my surprise, he requested me to play for his team. Moving from Mumbai to Aizawl in Mizoram was a difficult choice, but I strongly felt it was all I needed for that moment. The support from my coach was monumental to my success and my belief in him made me relocate eventually. Having spent most of my life in a fast paced city like Mumbai, life in Aizawl was relatively difficult for me to adapt to initially.

There were innumerable times when I felt like running away, but the unconditional support from my coach kept me going. We participated in various tournaments and received The Champions of India title. This was the defining moment for my career as it changed the course of my life overnight. From brand endorsements to other tournaments, I was living the dream. I’ve learnt through my experiences that one should never give in to self doubt no matter how unattainable their dreams may seem. You can get through difficulties and achieve success in anything you choose to do. All it takes is a little determination, passion and dedication and the rest will follow.

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