My name is Gaurav Nandrajog and I'm 32 years old. Currently based out of New Delhi, I've always wanted to be the world’s best squash player. After many years of tireless hard work, in the year 2006, I beat Ritwik Bhattacharya, who then ranked No 1 in India. It's been 11 years and a lot has happened since. This is my story. I am now attempting to get back to the top for which I need your support on my crowdfunding campaign. I am raising funds to improve my ranking and game by playing international tournaments and need to raise INR 15L ideally. The immediate goal of this campaign is to raise 12L INR and then stretch the goal to 15L once I get past INR 12L funding.
Pic: That is me on the left. In action on the courts, that I love the most!
Eleven years ago, I was at the top of the game & was touted as the next big thing for Indian squash but an illness cut short my rise. I overworked myself and headed straight for a burnout! I would train for 8 hours a day which did not prove to be good for my body. I felt the harder I worked, the better it was for me! The workload soon took a toll and I started suffering injuries. My performance dipped, and I began losing the matches that I would usually win. A lack of proper nutrition and training regime made things worse. I began sleeping 19 hours a day and putting on weight, my joints hurt. Working harder wasn't a solution. What I actually faced was a burnout. It took me a few years for me to realise the folly of what I was doing.
Currently ranked #6 in India, I am raising funds to improve my game and ranking by playing in the international circuit. The goal must be accomplished. Let the racquet talking begin.
ABOUT MY CAMPAIGN:
One way for me to raise my game and improve my rankings is to play in the international circuit. That's expensive but most effective. I run a squash academy in New Delhi which helps me run my home and takes care of my day-to-day expenses. But to play the international circuit, I need your help and assistance. I am raising INR 12 Lakhs for my travel, stay and food expenses for international tournaments. Now, only if the crowd supports me, will all my struggles pay off.
SEE THE RANKING OF TOP 10 PLAYERS IN INDIA:
THE BACKGROUND STORY:
I started learning to play squash when I was 13. After training for a year, I won the UNDER-15 nationals and went on to become the NO 1 PLAYER IN INDIA in the Under-17 category. I was ranked no 2 in the UNDER -19 and was seen as a boy wonder in the world of squash.
I would get up at 4:30 AM to go for a 10 km run, then to school and then to the squash courts by 3.30 which was extremely tiring. Making it to the courts on time was important because the officers at DSOI (Defence Services Officers Institute) in New Delhi, would tell us to vacate as it was their slot in the evenings. My dad was in the army, and this gave me easy access to the club.
However, our DSOI days were numbered as it was time for us to aim higher. A year later, I was to represent India at the Asian Junior Squash Championship in 2001. This gave me a reality check on where I stand and where I need to go, if I want to become the #1 player in Asia. Many Indian team trials followed, and at that time I come runners up at the Hong Kong Jr open, finishing 5 at the Malaysian Jr open and won the Singapore Jr open to boot.
PIC: That's me on the right.
Back in India, I would continue to be #1 player. The trips were funded by my family, but we were struggling to cope with the financial crunch. I did get a breather when Vijay Goel of DSM came forward to help, but not enough to see me worry-free, the others were extremely rude and refused to even meet me.
Each time I was confident of performing well, I'd have coaches putting me on different fitness programs, trying to change my technique and routine. I trusted them with blind faith and believed that if I did what they said, I'd be at the top. With this came a slew of injuries, which were made small of by doctors and my coaches.
Then things became a bit better when I started training on my own in Vasant Kunj. I was number 2 in the U-19 and 3/4 in the Men's category. But still, no funding, no money, just a federation promising one thing and doing quite the other. The focus was so much on the training that I didn't realise that I had qualified to receive funds from the SPORT AUTHORITY OF INDIA (SAI) because of my excellent rankings. I was advised to shift to Chennai (where the SRFI is located) to get better training, and they promised to take care of things and all I'd have to worry about was the training.
I put new fitness records on the board, proudly doing so and everything was just great, or I thought so again. To cut a long story short, in the nationals of 2006, I beat Ritwik, who was #1 at the time, losing to Saurav, thereby becoming #2 in India.
PIC: Just after my practice schedule
I was back in Chennai and started training again. However, I got paid a lot less than what was allocated to me but I still continued to train and play for the next 2 years. Dad retired in 2008 and we shifted out of the army life into civilian surroundings. Since funds were an issue, I decided to start coaching. I hoped my injuries would get better and I went to many doctors and all of them dismissed it as my imagination! However, I went on in my pursuit. My wife, Kriti, my parents, my acupressure guide, spiritual gurus, a lot of defeats on the court, and a lot of patience and determination have guided me through. Now, while my coaching in the academy continues, it's back to training hard and giving it my best, again, to be able to hold that trophy.
I want to raise INR 12 L through this campaign to take part in international events. My total funding needs for the year is closer to INR 15L approximately so you can continue funding this campaign even after my goal has been achieved. Below is an estimation of the total expenses that I will incur through the year for just International events.
What are the crowdfunding charges?
Fueladream charges 2% for the payment gateway and 7% as crowdfunding charges. With GST the total comes to 10.62%. There is also an initial fee of 3000 INR.
How does crowdfunding work?
Crowdfunding in India is a relatively new concept & is growing very quickly. It’s s concept that allows a large number of funders (like you) to fund an idea or a cause or event by giving small amounts of money online. Fueladream is a crowdfunding site and platform in India that allows for such a pooling of funds.
You can fund innovations & ideas on FuelADream and be the first to get these products or make them come true. You can also do a good turn by funding charities and causes through crowdfunding. When you fund a charity it’s more like a donation & you get small innovative rewards like a shout-out on a FB page or a thank you email from the beneficiaries in addition to tax benefits.