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Karate kids bear pain, punch their way to pride

- Three students win medals and glory with knockout performances, put state on national martial arts map

Guts, grit and glory are their hallmark and the scars their badge of honour. Meet a few students who have carved their place under the sun in a sport that languishes on the sidelines.

Eight-year-old Bhargavi Vedagarbha and her fellow mates have proved their mettle at the four-day Sub-Junior Cadet Junior Under-21 National Karate Championship clinching four medals at the Talkatora Stadium in Delhi recently. The tournament had started on May 29.

The Class IV girl of St Dominic Savio’s High School bagged a gold as well as a silver medal. It was also an achievement for Bihar, as this was the first time anyone from the state had won two medals in the sport.

“Bhargavi surprised everyone by winning two medals (a gold and a silver) in any official game for the first time,” said Nalin Kumar, the president of Sports Karate Association of Bihar.

Bhargavi, who won gold in kumite and silver in kata, said: “All you need is strong concentration and self-determination. Initially, I was a bit nervous during the kata round when someone said Bihar players were not that good. However, my parents encouraged me saying that I am representing the state and I have to prove my critics otherwise. I have done so.”

Bhargavi said: “My mother Pinky Singh, the first lady blackbelt from Bihar, used to train other children. Seeing them, I developed an interest in the sport.”

Kata is a Japanese word describing detailed choreographed patterns of movements practised either solo or in pairs. Kata is used by most Japanese and Okinawan martial arts, such as aikido, judo, kendo and karate.

Kumite means grappling hands and is one of the three main sections of karate training, along with kata and kihon. Kumite is the part of karate in which a person trains against an adversary, using the techniques learned from the kihon and kata.

Bhargavi added: “One needs to concentrate very hard because at the same place, a number of matches are being held and announcements are made.”

Bhargavi said she practises for two to three hours on a daily basis and sometimes, it goes up to four hours, especially before tournaments. She added that she won her first medal (silver) at the age of two-and-a-half years at a district-level tournament.

Apart from Bhargavi, Class IV student Bhaskar from the same school performed well. Deepshikha, a Class VIII student of Holy Trinity, Gaighat, won a bronze medal in the same tournament.

Deepshikha said: “I was attracted to the sport two years back. Its self-defence factor fascinated me. I feel practise, speed and concentration are the must-haves to be successful in this sport.”

Coach Pinky Singh, who accompanied these students to the tournament, said Ravi Raj of Class XI from St John’s Academy also won a bronze medal. For a particular category, only one player from a state could be selected.

Altogether Bihar bagged four medals.


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