The 21-year-old from Sangam City plunges from the sky into the record books

While most young women her age are busy with school or friends, a 21-year-old aspiring engineer from Sangam town has made history by becoming the youngest Indian woman to hold a professional skydiving license. .

Anamika Sharma, the younger of Junior Warrant Officer (Retired) Ajay Kumar Sharma’s two daughters, first jumped from a height of 10,000 feet when she was just 11 years old. Today, she has 42 jumps to her credit, having performed them using 10 different types of parachutes and six different aircraft.

“When you’re in the air it gives a feeling of freedom and once you hit the ground the happiness and euphoria are hard to explain,” said the young athlete.

At the age of 21, she earned her United States Parachute Association (USPA) Category “A” professional license from the Dubai drop zone last January.

This also makes Anamika and her father, an Indian Air Force trained commando, the only father and daughter duo who are professional paratroopers in the country.

Whether it was her early education at Prayagraj or different schools across the country and now pursuing a BTech degree from Bengaluru, Anamika’s passion for skydiving under the guidance of her coach and father continues unabated. .

“After some initial resistance from my mother, I never looked back, and with the support of my family and my father’s best friend, Santosh Nagraj, today I am so proud to be the fifth female professional skydiver in the country and the youngest to achieve the feat (bag of USPA license),” Anamika said, while speaking on the phone from Bengaluru.

She added, “Now that everyone is talking about female empowerment and we are seeing girls entering all fields, this field has a whole different kind of challenge and huge reach, both nationally and internationally. “.

Anamika was trained by her father and earlier by her father’s friend and ace skydiver in the country, Santosh Nagraj, who has a USPA (United States Parachute Association) Class D license.

“To obtain a professional parachutist license, she trained in Moscow in August-September 2021 and in Dubai on November 21 and again in January 2022. She has now jumped 42 times, performing various solo and group jumps. We have now started our preparations for an international competition to be held in four years time,” said Ajay Kumar Sharma.

Anamika is also preparing hard for the international competition as till date, no Indian has competed at the international level.

“Government will soon come up with a National Air Sports Policy which is ready to give the necessary boost to this difficult sporting field and ensure that the girls of our country pose a great challenge to their foreign counterparts,” Anamika said. , whose mother, Priyanka Kumari, is always afraid of seeing her daughter jump from a height of about 14,000 feet.

Colin L. Johnson