Pune’s Shital Mahajan was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri award back in 2011 after she became world’s first woman to sky-dive from North and South Pole.
Shital was introduced to skydiving back in 2002 when a friend’s brother, who was an Air Force officer introduced her to the sport.
Intrigued by the rush, Shital was soon hooked and quickly learnt the basics of skydiving from him.
She then moved on to advanced training but was not able to pursue it within India as civilians could not be trained within the country at that time.
Women skydivers are almost negligible within the country and Shital wanted to break stereotypes associated with women in adventure sports.
Her parents were initially unconvinced of her dream as her family had never even travelled in an aircraft and jumping out of one seemed unfathomable.
Undeterred, she convinced her parents that it was her passion and after months of persuasion finally got them onboard.
There was no looking back from then and on 18th April 2004, Shital became the first woman in the world to execute a sky-dive from the North Pole from a height of 2400 feet, that too without any prior training.
She continued her passion and in 2006 performed the sky fall from both the South Pole and the North Pole, becoming the first woman in the world to do so.
Since then Shital had founded the Phoenix Skydiving Academy and now through her academy, aims to give back to her country by providing professional training in skydiving at a very nominal cost.
Shital again is planning to create history in December, when she will provide an opportunity to 100 women to set a world record in skydiving and scuba diving.