"Dream to see Apeksha represent India," says record-breaking swimmer's father
Baylon Fernandes, the father of Apeksha Fernandes, spoke to The Bridge after his daughter’s record-breaking streak at the Junior National Swimming Championship.
Apeksha Fernandes has been the talk of the recently concluded Junior National Aquatic Championships in Odisha. The teenager set five new national records in five days at the national championships.
After coming back home from accompanying Apeksha in Odisha, her father Baylon Fernandes spoke to The Bridge about his daughter's scintillating form at the tournament.
"Generally, we accompany her (Apeksha) wherever she goes," said BG Fernandes, who is a professor in the Electrical Engineering department at IIT Bombay.
17-year-old Apeksha Fernandes has literally created waves, both inside the pool as well as outside it after she became the holder of five national records in just five days. She doled out the 'Best India Performance' timings in 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, and 200m individual medley.
But, was such a record-breaking performance expected of Apeksha, or did it come as a pleasant surprise?
"How to say this (laughs). We expected her to do well and went with a certain kind of expectation. But, due to her efforts and God's grace, it exceeded our expectations," said a proud Fernandes.
Owing to her brilliant exploits in the water, Apeksha was awarded the 'Best Swimmer' amongst all the girls in the Nationals.
"We were thinking that she would improve in one or two events, but not in all, and with such a huge margin. So, if I say that we were confident, it won't make sense," Apeksha's father added honestly.
After announcing herself in great fashion to the swimming circuit at the Nationals, the question asks itself- What next for the teen sensation? Prof. Fernandes was able to shed some light on what path her daughter may choose to follow.
"Definitely, we would love to (see Apeksha represent India at Asian Games and the Olympics), but we'll have to see. She would love to represent India at the highest levels, it is a dream, but academics is also there," he said.
"She might be willing to take a break for a couple of years, something which isn't common in India. Here, everyone will ask you what you are doing next. In foreign countries, taking a break is a very normal thing to do. Here, there has to be something after your 10th and 12th exams, especially because of peer pressure. We need to guide her, so let's see what happens in the end," Fernandes added.With the 2022 Asian Games confirmed to be held in September 2023, we'll have to wait and see whether Apeksha Fernandes makes even greater strides and be a part of the Asiad contingent.