Natasha Chetty, 22, is no stranger to the Seychellois public. Natasha is a double gold medallist at the last Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) in Mauritius in 2019, a graduate of the Seychelles Business Studies Academy and was crowned second princess at Miss Creole Des Îles Seychelles in 2018. Her athletic talents didn’t go unnoticed by international coaches as Natasha was scouted and is currently on a fully-funded scholarship studying at the University of Nevada Reno in the United States of America. The scholarship has given Natasha, a jumps specialist, the opportunity to do a degree whilst pursuing her sports and competing at a higher level.
This is her journey.
Daughter of Marie-Claire Damoo and Kisnan Chetty, Natasha has an older brother and a younger brother. She grew up at Plaisance, encouraged from a very young age to give everything she loves a go; Natasha spent a lot of her time as a teenager perfecting her high and long jumps. The hard work would pay off as she represented Seychelles at international competitions. Alongside her love for sports, Natasha started modelling as she loved fashion and beauty. In 2018 she decided to enter the local beauty pageant, Miss Creole Des Îles Seychelles and was crowned the second princess. However, sports and modelling were not her sole focus; even with a hectic extra-curricular schedule, Natasha knew that her studies had to be prioritised. After completing secondary school, Natasha joined the Seychelles Business Studies Academy, where she graduated with a Business and accounting diploma.
Jumping for Gold
In 2019, Natasha was part of the delegation to represent Seychelles at the 10th edition of the Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) in Mauritius. This multi-sports event, spread out over ten days, is held every four years among athletes from the Indian Ocean islands: Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Réunion and the Maldives. Natasha won the long jump gold medal with a best leap of 6.04m and followed it up by clearing the bar at 1.70m in the high jump to snatch another gold. ( Her personal best in the high jump is 1.77m, and she got it at the African Junior Championship for the Under-18 and the Under-20 held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in April 2019 to win a silver medal). With her two gold medals won at the IOIG in Mauritius in 2019, Natasha established herself as the region’s jumps specialist, and many took notice of the young athlete’s skills.
Not long after her success at the IOIG, Natasha was contacted by several coaches in the United States who wanted her on their University Athletic team.
“First, I was contacted by an Agency. They said that they found my profile and my results are good if I would be interested in pursuing my career in the USA. I was a bit hesitant at first, but then I agreed. They posted my profile on a site, and I started getting emails from different coaches wanting me to join their team. I had to choose between Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Washington State University, Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, West Virginia University, University of Cincinnati and University of Nevada Reno.”
Natasha was spoilt for choice; she eventually chose the University of Nevada Reno because of the coaches, resources, facilities, and equipment she believed would help her improve and exceed both athletically & academically. However, the journey to join the women’s track & field roster of the Nevada Wolf Pack team as a freshman was not easy.
“My coach had wanted to recruit me on his team. We struggled quite a bit before it became possible. The coach was eager to have me on his team, and he fought through and made it possible.”
From Seychelles to Nevada, USA
Natasha is adapting to university life in Nevada; balancing her academic studies and training can be challenging, but she is determined to do well. Academically, she is majoring in Business, and as for her athletics commitment, she practices five times a week with sessions lasting between one hour and one hour 30 minutes. She enjoys the training and feels that her training in Seychelles was also very high, but there are advantages to training in the USA. “Honestly, training in Seychelles was as good as it is here (USA). I had a great coach, Carlos Vizcaino. But here, there are more facilities, more resources, equipment and even the medical/physical treatment an athlete needs. I must add that there are some exercises that are new to me.”
In the USA, Natasha competes for the University of Nevada, Reno, and she also hopes to represent Seychelles in many more international competitions in the future.
Wise Words From Natasha
The journey is not going to be easy. You’re going to meet people who will leave you along the way, and you’re going to have setbacks, obstacles, challenges and tough choices to make. Some days you’re not going to be able to give your best, and it’s okay not to be the best every single day. Some days you might feel like you want to give up or even doubt yourself. You will experience all sorts of criticism, people who’d look down on you, people who doubt you, and people who don’t want to see you win. But these are the challenges you face along the way that build you and prepare you to achieve what you’ve been working for. So don’t ever stop working towards your goal!
You’ll get there!