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August 13, 2019

Karnataka’s 23-yr-old Aishwarya becomes first Indian world champion in motorsports

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Bengaluru, Aug 13: Leading off-road racer Aishwarya Pissay, who hails from Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru, has created history by becoming the first Indian to win a world title in motorsports as she won the FIM World Cup in women's category after the final round of the championship in Varpalota, Hungary, yesterday.

The event was conducted by International Motorcycling Federation - the governing body for motorcycle racing in the world.

23-year-old Aishwarya, who won the first round in Dubai and was placed third in Portugal, fifth in Spain and fourth in Hungary in subsequent outings, finished with a tally of 65 points, four points ahead of Portugal's Rita Vieira.

Going into the Hungarian leg, Aishwarya (with 52 points) and Vieira (with 45 points) were the top contenders for the title. The fourth-place finish in Hungary earned the Indian 13 points.

"It's overwhelming. After what happened last year when I crashed in Spain... to come out and win the championship, it's a great feeling," said an ecstatic Aishwarya.

Last year, Aishwarya had become the first Indian female rider to compete in the gruelling Baja Aragon Rally. That rally ended prematurely for Aishwarya as she crashed and suffered from ruptured pancreas in the process. “I have had two major accidents. One in which I hurt my collar bone in 2017, then I had a bad fall and ruptured my pancreas in 2018. I underwent surgery and was in hospital for two months. There was not a single day in the hospital that I thought I would not be able to race again. That incident taught me the importance of never giving up,” she recalled.

In 2017, doctors inserted a steel plate and seven screws to fix Aishwarya’s collarbone. She was asked not to race another three-four weeks. “I had a race in just five days. Nothing was going to stop me. I got up and raced and won the championship,” she said.

Aishwarya, who began biking just five years back, is also the first Indian woman to have won five national road racing and rally championship titles. “I started going on weekend rides with my friends and that is where my love for biking began.

“Then in 2015, I began training at the Apex Racing Academy in Coimbatore and realised I had the skillset to get into professional racing and biking.” From there, Aishwarya has gone from strength to strength. “I met some women during my initial training days who were ready to take racing as hobby, but not as a profession. I am glad I didn’t go their way.”

Karnataka’s 23-yr-old Aishwarya becomes first Indian world champion in motorsports

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