After working in a start-up, Aarathi decided to return to sports but wasn’t sure how and which sport so she started running and then ended up running a triathlon. Aarathi, who became India’s first woman vegan ironman, tells DT Next, “When I returned to sports a few years ago, I started with swimming and lost the extra pounds that I gained. Slowly, I started cycling and running and started training for triathlons. In 2019, I became the first woman vegan ironman from the country. I also have 10 years of experience in racing at track and field athletic meets at the National level as a sprinter and has been an age-group triathlete since 2016.”
The athlete has dedicated her achievement to her friend Anu Vidya, who lost her life in the Theni forest fire accident. “I met Anu Vidya in 2016 and we became friends. We started training together. Her dream was to become the first vegan woman to climb Mount Everest. I also wanted to do an ironman triathlon with her. She was an inspiration and I am dedicating my achievement to her,” she adds.
Speaking about turning vegan, Aarathi tells us that many had doubts about how it would affect her training. “Indian food is nutritious and one has to focus on the intake. What is important for an athlete is to understand the changes happening in his/her body. I was an eggetarian throughout my life — for me, the curd was mandatory for meals and people used to call me ‘curd rice’. I turned vegan in 2018 and it was a life-changing decision. I make sure to eat a lot of greens, vegetables, dals, etc,” quips Aarathi.
She opines that it takes a village to raise a sportsperson. “My family and friends have been supportive throughout my journey. I work at Yoska, a fit-tech company and they have encouraged me as well,” she sums up.