Oct, 18 Beginnings of winning in foreign lands

Pragnya Mohan is an Indian triathlete from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. In 2019, she became the first triathlete to represent India in the Triathlon World Cup. She is the current South Asian triathlon champion, multiple times national champion and has won gold medals at the South Asian Games and the National Games.

In 2015, she was decorated with the Eklavya Award (Senior), the highest state sports award. She is also a qualified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

May 96- In the swimming pool with Floaters
Jun, 08 Swimming was becoming a way of life in the teenage years

Early Career

Pragnya was born on 19 October 1994 in Ankleshwar, Gujarat. She started swimming at the age of two, learning it in the pool of Modiguard township. Seeing her potential, her parents sent her to a 45-day coaching camp in 2002. Once she mastered the finer aspects of swimming, even being a third grade student she went on to beat the high school students in the distance swimming event organized by her school. She started competitive swimming at the age of eight by participating in the CBSE west zone competition in Alwar. In 2003, after her family shifted to Atul, Gujarat, she was left without a coach and had to train on her own in the township of Atul Limited. Pragnya steadily improved her performance in state meets going from bronze to gold. In 2006, she qualified for the swimming nationals for the first time.

In 2004, Pragnya participated in her school’s 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) mini marathon finishing second. Thereafter she started endurance running. In 2007, when her father joined Cadila Pharmaceuticals, the family moved to Ahmedabad. Within seventy-five days of coming under the tutelage of Kamlesh Nanavati and training alongside national champions Vandita Dhariyal and Maana Patel, she finished first in the state championship. Combining the sports of swimming and running, she won the bronze medal in the sub-junior national aquathlon in 2008.

She started cycling in her high school years. In January, 2013, she won the inaugural 50 kilometres (31 mi) cycle race organized by Amdavad Municipal Corporation. She has won a total of 127 state championship medals in various disciplines. In December 2013, she won the gold medal in the women’s category of 24th Gujarat State Aquathlon qualifying for the 2014 Senior National Triathlon Championship.

Triathlon career

Pragnya won the gold medal in the 2014 Senior National Triathlon Championship held at Nashik, Maharashtra. Subsequently she clinched a silver medal at her maiden international meet – 2014 South Asian Triathlon Championship held at Pokhara, Nepal.

While representing her home state Gujarat, she won a gold medal in the 2015 National Games held at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala from 31 January to 14 February 2015. In August 2015, the Government of Gujarat in light of Mohan’s exceptional performance at national and international level, conferred her with its highest state sports award, the Eklavya Award (Senior).

She started the year 2018 by finishing second in the 2018 Senior National Triathlon Championship held at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Thereafter she won the silver medal in the 2018 South Asian Triathlon Championship held at Pokhara, Nepal.

Pragnya began the year 2019 with winning the 2019 South Asian Triathlon Championship held at Pokhara, Nepal. This performance was her best performance at an international event. With this she qualified and participated in the 2019 Triathlon World Cup held at Madrid, Spain on 5 May 2019. She became the first triathlete to represent India at the World Cup. She went to win the 2019 Senior National Triathlon Championship held at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

She participated in the 2019 South Asian Games held at Nepal from 1–10 December 2019. Battling stomach cramps, she won the bronze medal in women’s triathlon individual category on 2 December 2019. Two days later, she led the opening leg of the Indian triathlon mixed relay team. Her strong performance of being the fastest amongst the female triathletes led the Indian team to a comfortable gold medal.

Personal life

Pragnya, while a student of Eklavya School in Class XI choose the science stream. However two years later, she decided to pursue the Chartered accountancy course due to a good return for the time invested and option of self study meant more time for pursuing sports. After clearing her intermediate exam, she spent a year interning in Ernst & Young, a Big Four accounting firm. However due to long hours of work and outstation audits, her sports suffered. In February 2015, she switched firms and in the summer of 2017, she cleared the final exams to qualify as a Chartered Accountant (CA) from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). After which she plunged into training for triathlon full time. While her hometown is in Ahmedabad, she mainly trains in Australia and Spain under the guidance of international coaches Sean Foster and Eva Ledesma.

Pragnya is a public speaker having delivered TEDx talk in IIM Bangalore in 2019 alongside Kavita Krishnamurti, Tejasvi Surya and Komal Nahta. She regularly speaks in ICAI national conferences about the lessons and importance of sports. She used to be a paper presenter at the CA Students National Conference and also bagged the best paper presenter award. She is also a qualified paragliding pilot having done her club pilot course from Kamshet.

She had travelled to Melbourne, Australia in March 2020 to train. She got stuck there due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. Later she decided to stay back as the situation in Melbourne improved and she had access to better training facilities. As of July 2021, she had spent 17 months away from her home in India.

Pragnya has been selected by the World Triathlon for their mentee program. As a part of it she is trying to popularize her sport in different parts of India particularly through the use of social media.