When a woman with the looks of a model starts to excel in a male-dominated field like motorsport racing, the world is bound to take notice. That’s exactly the case with Alisha Abdullah, who at the age of 24 became India’s first female racing champion.
Alisha’s passion for racing comes from her father R A Abdullah who was a bike racer and a seven-time national champion. Under his tutelage, she got into go-karting at the age of 9 and by 13 she had won the MRF National Go-karting Championship and the Best Novice Award in the National level Formula Car Racing in the open class.
After winning the JK Tyre National Championship in 2004, Alisha made the bold choice of leaving formula cars and moving on to superbike racing.
She started competing in bike races at the age of 16 and she consistently bested most of the racers, all of whom were male. Alisha continued to gain podium finishes and accolades for her prowess in bike racing until 2010, when a bad accident made her swear off bikes and she moved back to cars.
In an interview with Times of India shortly after the crash, she said, “In a completely male-dominated sport, I think I bruised quite a few men’s egos. They couldn’t stand a girl push past guys and many a time they deliberately hit my bike. Being a no-nonsense girl, I always fought back. But, the crash was the threshold. I didn’t want to race bikes any more, though I loved it.”
Alisha made the switch from two-wheelers to four-wheelers seamlessly and continued to win as though she had never left car racing. She made history when she got a podium finish in the Volkswagen National Polo Cup in 2011. Alisha Abdullah has also left her mark on the international scene when she became the first Indian woman to get a podium finish in an international Motorsport competition, the Toyota VIOS cup in 2014.
The Chennai-born racer also has a movie appearance to her credit. She played the role of a bike gangster in the Tamil film ‘Irumbu Kuthirai’. Considering her looks, it won’t be any surprise if she continues to receive more acting roles. But for her racing always comes first.
Even though she could have gone into modelling or acting, she stuck to her true passion and to make sure that more girls get the chance to break stereotypes about women racers, she has even started her own Women’s racing academy.
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So what are your thoughts on Alisha’s success in the world of motorsport racing? Let us know in the comments below.
This article is brought to you by Wheelstreet – India’s first bike rental platform.