Megan de Almeida dreamed of becoming the best diver in the country but like many athletes found the ecosystem insensitive and nearly gave up but luck showed up in such a manner that today she wants to be the best doctor whilst still aiming to be the best diver of India.
“The situation turned bad during Covid and got worse with no diving pool available for practice. It hurt not to represent Goa during the 37th National Games but that had not made me give up,” says Megan who is doing her first year MBBS at Goa Medical College (GMC).
“As a doctor, I do not want to prescribe medicine to people. I want to educate people on having a nice lifestyle. I think, that is the role of a doctor,” says Megan as she readies to get into the pool.
Megan was one of those capable of winning a medal for Goa during the 37th National Games but the intemperate attitude of the government saw that she had no pool to practice, and thus her hopes were drowned.
“I still believe I can be amongst the best divers in India if I am at least provided with a coach. With no coach, there will be no takers for diving in Goa and that will be sad,” said the 19-year-old who represented India during the 10th Asian Games.
Megan was the national sub junior champion twice and has now begun winning laurels for GMC but her eyes show a hunger to conquer in the sky as the body prepares to plunge into the water.
“The fact that I can be in the air makes me feel like a bird and then the splash of water gives another lift to my mind. The feeling is ecstatic and that’s what draws me to diving,” confesses Megan.
Diving requires muscle memory, which means that lack of practice and training is a deterrent but Megan does not allow negatives to blind her dives. “I want to develop that sporting attitude in me and through that get a better understanding of the body,” say the lass from Divar.
“I still want to be the champion of the country and as I prepare for it, I would like to inspire others to take up diving because it is dying. We were five of us before the pandemic and now apart from me, there is no one else,” reflects Megan.
“Forget the grassroots. First there was no pool and now that the pool is ready there is no coach. Diving is about learning the techniques and they keep changing. With no coach, it is hard to keep pace,” admits Megan.
As a first-year student of MBBS, Megan devotes around five hours a day for studies and sets aside time to be in the pool. “I know I have it in me to be a champion but to excel at that level, I need a coach who I do not have,” regrets Megan.
Many give up sports after they have decided on a career. Megan decided on a career partly because she felt uninvited in the pool. Today, she studies about enriching other bodies as she herself intends finishing without a splash in the pool.