Five-year-old Kayah Coelho from Mumbai had high hopes when she came to attend the ‘Kochi Onam Regatta, 2012’. But to her utter disbelief, she had to content with just demonstrations in wind surfing as she could find norival in her age group to contest with.
But that did not keep her away from thronging the shores quite often and was all smiles when she was asked to give a demo for the spectators. Kaya with a mischievous grin says she has hardly felt any fear while stepping into the water. “I never felt scared and I love being in the water,” she says.
Definitely, this is not a baby talk as she comes from a lineage where her father and siblings have bagged national and international honours in yachting regattas. Her father Donald Coelho is a national champion in wind surfing and has participated in several international regattas.
Her elder brother Dayne Coelho, 14, has been the national champion thrice and sister Katya Coelho, 13, is also a national champion in the youth category. Nilma Shah, one of the jury members says that, though wind surfing is a Herculean task, she is doing it with ease.
Ask her how she feels wafting through water and controlling the wind, she says it is fun and cool. Kayah says that her father who is a sailor used to take her wherever he went for sailing. “That’s how I developed interest in yachting,” she says.
The other name which deserves special mention is Marc, a 10-year-old boy from Sri Lanka and the only foreign participant in the Onam Kochi Regatta. “I started learning yachting just ten months ago. But I’m quite confident of controlling an enterprise yacht with a crew,” he says.
Though he is quite satisfied with the Kochi backwaters, he is a bit sad that he could not get a good boat. The regatta was flagged off by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday.