Chennai youngster wins big at martial arts tournament

Chennai: Samyuktha Santhakumar, a class nine student and resident of Mahalakshmi Nagar, recently won a bronze medal in the Okinawa Goju-Ryu Karate Open International Championship, conducted at Malaysia.

In a chat with News Today, she speaks about the tournament and her future plans.

“Initially, it was my brother who was enrolled in the karate class, but I, too, got interested and asked my parents if I can join. They readily agreed and that is how the journey began, two years ago,” she said.

“First, it was only out of interest that I started to learn. Eventually, I became passionate about it. Now, after winning bronze in the recent tournament, I am all the more motivated to work hard and make sure that I grab the gold next year. This time, all my opponents were from Malaysia and they had a different style and approach,” she added.

Speaking about the preparations, Samyuktha said she worked hard for three months. “I train for two hours every morning and one hour in the evening. After joining the classes, I am now all the more confident of myself. I would also like to thank my teachers and school management for being very supportive,” she added.

According to her trainer Muthu Devaraj, in the present scenario, it has become necessary to equip girl children with martial arts even at a young age so they can defend themselves when the need arises.

“Instead of just teaching them ‘katas’, I also concentrate on their self-defence techniques,” he said, adding, apart from training and practice, he focuses on the diet of the students.

“It would not be of much help if they just keep practising. They should also eat healthy to stay fit and to increase their stamina. I advise them to avoid junk food,” he stated.

Samyuktha’s parents G M Santhakumar and Sudha, said they were proud of their daughter.
“Being a sportsperson myself, I felt very happy when Samyuktha said she wanted to learn karate, I immediately agreed. Initially I thought she will become an artist as she is interested in painting. I am happy that she has won in an international tournament,” Santhakumar said.

Balasubramani Muniyandi