| Asim Bhoi |
Balangir, Sept. 12: Madhuri Mehta and Roshanara Parbeen have already done it, now Balangir’s Asim Kumar Bhoi has also gone international.
While Odia women cricketers from Balangir —Madhuri and Roshanara — have donned the national jersey, Asim has represented the country in karate.
Asim, 33, narrowly missed the bronze medal at the International Karate Cup Championship held at Putrajaya in Malayasia last week.
Bhoi was the only Odia in the nine-member team from India that participated in the championship.
Bhoi, a tax consultant by profession, got hooked onto the sport from a very young age and was initially trained by eminent coach Manuel Nag.
“Manuel Nag took me under his wings when I was 16. Later, I moved to Chennai and learnt the intricacies of karate from J.S. Kalaimani, the chief of Ryushinkan Shitoryo Karate Association in Chennai,” Bhoi said.
Bhoi has participated in and won medals in several international competitions. He bagged consecutive gold medals in the men’s black belt Kata event at the Chennai International Karate Championship in 2011 and 2012. He had also won the silver medal in the 55-60kg Kumite event at the Gujoriyo International Karate Championship in Raigarh in Chhattisgarh in 2008.
Speaking about his experience in Malayasia, Bhoi said: “I might have missed the medal narrowly, but learnt a lot from the masters of the game who participated in the event. Eleven countries participated in the championship and the performance was a treat to watch. The discipline they exhibited was admirable. Unfortunately, India lacks that discipline,” he said.
Bhoi’s father Shiba Prasad is equally exited. “He owes all his success to his hard work and blessing of Ram Chandi, our family deity,” he said.
Bhoi was, however, critical about the government’s lack of encouragement.
He said: “I feel sad that the government doesn’t encourage lesser known sports like karate while it goes on spending money on games like cricket. Those who came from other nations for the Malayasia event had been sponsored by their respective governments. But those who represented India had to bear the cost they incurred for taking part in the event. I had great difficulty in arranging Rs 60,000 required to enrol myself for the championship.”
Bhoi is also a karate coach and national-level referee. His passion for the game makes him to give free coaching to 45 youths in Balangir.
“In the absence of a indoor sports complex, I train them at the law college playground and at another place near the railway station. I hope to take this art forward if there is some help by the government. I want an indoor complex be built here,” he said.