It has been said, ‘Women who like fast cars and racing are a rare combination to find.’
Breaking every stereotype related to female driving and racing, Alisha Abdullah is making history since her teenage years. Born and brought up in Chennai, Alisha has attained a name in the racing profession by her strong will and determination.
Fascinated by her first Go-Karting experience at the age of 9 years, Alisha started to race professionally at the age of 11 and won many Go-Karting races. Recalling her initial journey, Alisha smiles and says, “When I turned 13, that time I won the MRF National Go-Karting Championship and the Best Novice Award in the National level Formula Car Racing in the open class. Later I moved on to formula car racing and managed to come fifth in the JK Tyre National Championship, 2004.”
Alisha is known for being a racer who is well-trained in car and bike racing, respectively. She is also India’s first female national racing champion.
Alisha has been inspired by her father, Mr. R. A. Abdullah who was himself a National Racing Champion and when he discovered Alisha’s interest in racing; he stood by his daughter to make her a professional. She further elaborates how her father helped her in establishing her passion and following her dreams, “Racing is a male dominated field and when I started, I faced lot of criticism, because I was the only woman racer during that time. My father supported me wholeheartedly and taught me the best. Slowly and steadily in India, people started accepting the fact that women can also drive and most importantly, they can drive on tracks and also win races against them.”
Though each day is a challenge for Alisha, she doesn’t feel failure is a stopping point ever. She explains, “For me every day is new day and I learn each day. I try my best to never repeat the mistakes.” Just like her belief about learning something new each day, 28-year-old Alisha feels that she is still learning and her life has much more lessons in-stored for her.
Not only Alisha is a highly devoted racer, she also owns a racing academy in Chennai. She adds, “I am the director of Alisha Abdullah Academy. As we all know, racing sports are the expensive one to afford. At the academy, I used to train girls for racing but due to lack of sponsorship we have kept on hold at the moment. Currently, my total focus is on my Alisha Abdullah Team.”
With growing exposure of women in other sports, does Alisha see more women making a career in racing? Alisha smiles and answers, “This particular sport is highly expensive. Anyone should think twice before stepping in. I have seen many people who enter this sports and life becomes difficult for them to sustain in it. This actually spoils anyone’s career. Being India’s top female racer, I would not say at all that women is still behind males. You can say they are equally together and according to the performance of a person, it gets decided who is the winner.”
It was earlier this year when Alisha came back on the track with a bang by winning the first position in the 4th round of National Women Racing Championship, 2017. Alisha is really excited about her future plans and shares with us, “My recent biggest achievement was when I kissed my trophy which I won after 8 years from bike racing. I have a lot of plans for the upcoming year, me and my team is working hard on it and waiting to bring surprises and some new news for you guys.”
The rising racing star who is making her mark in the field dominated by men, gives her father due credit for her success. She also adds, “My dad is the man behind my success, else I would rather say my parents are behind my success. If they wouldn’t have supported me then, you might not have been talking to India’s Fastest Female Racer now. My parents and I have never heard anything from society. They only taught me to give answers through your trophy which still I follow.”
While she continues to follow her dreams, she also would like to share a message for the girls around the world and their families, “We should support the dreams of a girl and courage them to fly. I would personally like to advice that a girl should focus on her goal and work hard to achieve them. I did so, and I am sure you can also do it.”