Mahek Nayak, one of Maharashtra's top badminton players, balances athletics and education like an ace. Mahek attempted practically every activity as a child, including swimming, football, and skating, but once she won her first championship, she realised that badminton was her sport. Currently, the 17-year-old wants to compete for India in the Olympics.
When she was young, Mahesh enrolled for extra co-curricular activities, including badminton, taekwondo, singing, dancing, feature drama, and aerial dance. She was always very athletic as a child- she ran in school, winning the Athlete of the Year award. Mahek started playing badminton after seeing her cousin sister, then among USA’s top 10 badminton players, play in a match. She was 12. The sport clicked- she started playing badminton. Mahek initially played once a week as a hobby. The turning point came when she won a district match under 13- she decided to pursue badminton as a career. Her mother put her in better coaching. For three years, till she was 17, Mahek trained in Mumbai, after which she went to Hyderabad for further training.
Playing at 12 is late for a badminton player. Mahek initially found it tough to compete. The pandemic struck- she had to shift to Hyderabad. She was stuck in Hyderabad for over seven months and wasn’t able to meet her family. All this while, Mahek got double the time to train herself and improve her ability. She trained for over six hours every day, making the most of this time and preparing for the coming tournaments. After the lockdown gradually opened and tournaments resumed, Mahek gave up on her social life and worked hard. Her efforts bore fruit- Mahek won the state championship, followed by the nationals. She played in the senior category, winning the Maharashtra Olympics. She finally represented her country and played in Vietnam at the Felet International Vietnam Series 2022 but lost in the quarter finals to a Chinese pair.
Mahek says as a girl there were no stereotype at her house. Her father played tennis professionally, so the love for sports was always present in the family.
“I never faced any challenges. My family was very supportive and they continue to support me. I sacrificed a lot for this career. I had no social life and disconnected with everyone to focus on my sport,” she says.
Mahek’s favourite supplements are the amino acids Active BCAA and the multi-grain energy bar SteadCrunch, which energise her during a match.
“My favourite Steadfast product is Active BCAA in a watermelon flavour. I use it as an intra work out supplement to keep myself hydrated and energise during matches. I don’t feel tired during a match after taking it. I like SteadCrunch (Choco-almond flavour). It’s always in my bag. I always have it before and after a match for instant energy and satiety,” she says.
Mahek recalls her introduction to Steadfast in 2021 at the International Health, Sports, and Fitness Festival in Mumbai once the pandemic had waned and says the journey has been flawless.
“I met Aman sir at the Steadfast booth at the first International Health and Fitness Festival in Mumbai in 2021 once the pandemic waned. After a month, I was taken onboard. It was a very smooth process. I was really happy. It’s been one and a half years with Steadfast Nutrition- the journey has been flawless. They have supported me with all my nutritional needs. I am never short of nutritional requirements. I get my stack on time with everything I need”, said Mahek.