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Athlete | Author | Public Speaker | Ayesha Billimoria

Ayesha Billimoria

Ayesha Billimoria

“Having a trained mind is often as important as a well-trained body.” Ayesha Billimoria

Building an Early Foundation:

I can trace back to the start of it from my early childhood days. I first fell in love with running by the time I was 11. By 14, I had decided to turn myself into a skilled athlete. I loved playing sports throughout my school days and I remember playing a lot of basketball, volleyball, throw ball and football. It was during these years of teenage when I brought home the title of 'the fastest girl in India', from my ICSE Athletics Meet. I was profoundly driven towards the direction of running and fitness by then. It was with my performance in the same tournament that I was referred to the Adidas Runner's Circle by the ICSE Athletics Association. It was a big moment for me. I was in a good form by this time and had already started to manifest my big dream of taking part in the Olympics.

Beyond the Barricades:

As an athlete, you struggle with injuries a lot often. I had to accept and move on with the fact that I had made myself prone to injuries and setbacks as I chose athletics. I spent most of my years constantly rehabilitating for my injuries. I still undergo rehabilitation every now and then. But the mindset is what has changed in these years. In the year 2000, as my career just started, I fell prey to aghast bike accident, suffering enough injuries to take away much of my spirits. The accident had left me partially paralyzed, also convincing the world around me that I could never be back on the track again. At first I was really demoralized as my headspace started to fill with negatives but when I recollect now, nothing could break me altogether. Physically I was destroyed, but no one knew how strong my mind was. I held onto my big dream of the Olympics, refusing to let it go at the face of anything. This very spirit helped me recover- my dreams started to fill in all the hopes that I had lost with the accident. I further met my coach - Gavin during this time, after which my life changed altogether.

I soon started to look at all my injuries and setbacks as only the setups in pursuit of my big dream. My experiences with struggles have taught me that having a trained mind is often as important as a well-trained body.

Vision behind ‘Project Fitgirl’:

I started the social enterprise back in 2016. The aim is to raise awareness about the importance of fitness, to educate young girls about movement and life. "Project Fitgirl" stretches to Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh now, teaching girls in government schools, in both the rural and urban areas. I work as an athlete coach, trying to help the girls.

Rising as a Public Speaker:

I have done a TedX session in Ranchi where I talked about the Power of the Mind. It was something out of my comfort zone but I was glad that I could share my experiences with the youngsters. Our country has very talented youth, with tremendous capabilities. If they are taught to train their minds, overcome their fears and be leaders in themselves, they could all be great achievers. To break through, we must also learn to break down first. I was glad I could influence the youth for change.

I also did Keynote Speaking for the World Zoroastrian Congress.

I became a motivational speaker and then a vocal proponent for gender equality and environmental protection. I am a firm believer of upholding coexistence as the way to a peaceful and happy life and so I am happy that I can now voice out my opinions about the same.

Enlightening pages of ‘Run’:

"Run" holds all the wisdom I've acquired through these years as a runner. The book is dedicated to running- a fun for all activity that also requires right training and practice. This book is meant to be a guide for all the people who share this love for running. The book has all my personal tips, the answers to all your doubts and the first-hand accounts of people who truly transformed their lives with running. "Run" is the ultimate Runner's guide to train the mind and body for this wonder-sport. This book is meant to get you going and pump up your runner spirit altogether.

Journey as a Fitness Coach:

I've found a lot of happiness in running. Even after all my setbacks, I got back to the tracks soon and started to train with tremendous zeal. During the initial days, I didn't have a coach to help me, and I was all by myself. My love for athletics has been a big reason for my quick recovery. I am grateful to the coach (Gavin) who had trained me later on, as he is a big reason for who I am today and why I never gave up. My life transformed under the right guidance and the right mindset. The journey has been long. Yet when people ask me now "how long would you hold onto a dream trying each day to realize it?" I would say as long as it takes.

I refuse to give up, even if I age to as much as 60, before I fetch my big dream. After all it's the ultimate goals in life that keep you in pursuit and keep you going.

"I want people to know that it is okay if you’ve had a bad day, it’s okay if you’ve broken your leg or your arm, or lost your kidney–you can still do something if you want to."

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