an accomplished former athlete and an Indian film, actress from Karnataka, India. Nachappa gained fame around the start of the 1980s, when she outran P.T. Usha on two separate occasions. She has since been referred to as India’s FloJo. In 1988 she received the prestigious Arjuna award. A noted social worker and educationist, she has also built a school. She is currently the president of the Bangalore Urban District Athletics Association
She set the track ablaze with her sterling performances, but Ashwini Nachappa is a truly multi-faceted personality. A woman of many parts, the former Olympian has acted in Telugu movies, is actively involved in social work and is an educationist.
Ashwini brought accolades to Indian sports by participating and winning at both national and international level in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters in track and field.
Her key international accomplishments include – her representing India in three South Asian Federation Games in 1984 (hosted in Nepal – won 2 silver medals), in 1986 (hosted in Bangladesh – won 2 silver medals and in 1988 (hosted in Pakistan – won 3 gold medals), her participation in two Asian Games, one held in 1986 in South Korea (she stood 6th in Long Jump) and another held in 1990 in Beijing, China (she won silver medal in 4 x 100 meters relay). She also represented India in two World Athletics Championships, one in 1987 in Rome (she was the member of the 4 x 400 meters relay) and another in 1991 in Tokyo (she was the member of the 4 x 400 meters relay).
At 24th Olympic Games held in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, she was a member of the 4 x 400 meters relay.
She also participated in four Asian Track & Field Championships – one held in 1985 in Jakarta, Indonesia (she won bronze medal in relay), another held in 1987 in Singapore (she won silver medal in relay and ranked 4th in 200 meters), another one in 1989 in New Delhi (where she won two silver medals – one in 200 meters and another in relay) and yet another held in 1991 in Malaysia (where she won Gold medal in 4 x 400 meters relay). In 1988, she brought India gold medal in 400 meters from International Invitational meet held in Germany. She earned India gold medal in 100 meters from Invitational Permit Meet held in 1997 in New Delhi and silver medal in 200 meters held in 1999 in New Delhi.
At national level she participated and won numerous medals in All India Open Nationals championships.
In 1990, she was conferred with “The Arjuna Award” India’s most coveted award for the best sportsperson. Her other awards include – The Sportswriter award (In 1986 and 1991 for the best sportsman of the year), The Dasara award (In 1987 – it is Karnataka’s State Award), Rajyotsava award (In 1990 – Karnataka’s highest state award), the spirit of excellence award in 1992 by The Hon’ble Vice-President of India, and The Shiromani Vikas Award in 1993.
Apart from sports, she also acted in 5 Telegu movies, the first portraying a sportswoman. She received many awards and accolades for her performances including – The Fine Arts Awards (Chennai) for the best new comer in films and Vamsee Award from the Govt of Andhra Pradesh.
She is on the board of Parikrma Humanity Foundation, an organization which provides health care, nutrition and education besides community service to the underserved children of Bangalore. The foundation now takes care of over 1000 children in four centers of learning.
In 1991, after retiring from active competitive athletics, she joined Special Olympic program and remained associated with it 12 years. The program provides year round sports training in different sports disciplines to the mentally challenged children and adults. During her stay approximately 35,000 children and adults participated in this program. She took the Indian floor Hockey contingent to two winter Olympics one in Austria and another in Toronto in and the Summer Olympics at North Carolina. In these international events, Indian athletes won over 120 medals.
It has always been her desire to give back to sports that gave her all the accolades and recognition. In her very own hometown Coorg,the land of Coffee, she along with her husband decided to start a program which caters to the need of rural society. Coorg has had a fortune of producing personalities across all walks of life including over 50 national and International Sports personalities.
She took steps to fulfill her vision and in 2004, she along with her husband Datha Karaumbiah launched the Karuambiah’s Academy for Learning and Sports (KALS), an ISCE affiliated school, built on her rich and successful experience of being an athlete. What started out in a small way has now taken roots in the lovely and beautiful hills of Sourth Coorg.
Currently, a state-of-the-art, sporting program – “Ashwini Nachappa Sports Foundation”, is being developed. It was officially launched by Honourable union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports on 17th April 2010, in which all of her experience and expertise of becoming a champion will be used to nurture sporting excellence. Her vision is to create a substantial program that can be easily replicated across the country so that there is systemic change and the creation of sporting champions is not left to chance. Our mission is to consistently create world class champions across specified sporting disciplines.
It is her belief that if people provide and build sporting community in all rural areas, thus increase the base of pyramid, only then will champions emerge more frequently.