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Medals and glory for karate kids

Three young karatekas have done the city proud at a world championship in Mumbai recently.

Dipsikha Mukhopadhyay, 13, won a bronze in kumite in the under-13 and above 50kg category at the 6th World Gojukai Karate-Do Championship 2013, while Ishan Tripathi and Abhra Bhattacharya bagged bronzes in the 11 years and above 40kg category and the cadet group (14-15 years) and –63kg category respectively.

“Though only three have won medals, all 20 boys and girls from Bengal did well. They all trained really hard. I am really happy with what they have achieved,” said Dipak Kumar Shaw, the assistant chief coach at Calcutta Karate Club, where the medal winners train.

Dipsikha, a Class VIII student at Calcutta Girls’ High School, started learning karate in school. “Since she has always been very shy, I never thought she would do well in sports. But when she won a bronze in an inter-school karate competition, I admitted her to Calcutta Karate Club,” said Sharmishtha Mukhopadhyay, Dipsikha’s mother. “Now she is passionate about karate and doesn’t want to miss class even for a single day.”

The chief coach at the karate club, Lalit Kumar Shaw, is impressed by the black belt girl’s dedication. “Once she injured her leg during training and had to get a plaster. But that didn’t stop her from coming to class though she could practise only with upper limbs for the next four weeks.”

Ishan is proud to represent the country. A Class VII student at St. Aloysius Orphanage and Day School, Howrah, inherited the love for karate from his father and has been training since he was five. “As a child I used to love karate and wanted to pursue the game, but couldn’t. So I’m living my dream through my son,” said Anjani Kumar Tripathi, Ishan’s father.

The Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan fan often practises his punches on his mom! “He is very sincere and disciplined. His mawashi geri (kick on the face) and gyaku zuki (reverse punch) can put any opponent in trouble,” said coach Lalit.

For Abhra, the medal is special as this is the first time he represented India at an international championship. “Initially I was very nervous and was doing everything wrong in the first round. But slowly I gathered confidence and everything started falling in place,” said the Class IX student at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. “I’m happy I could win a medal in my first international meet.”