Karnataka shows its prowess

IN RECENT years, the most resounding kicks in taekwondo have been heard in Karnataka. And the State reiterated its prowess by emerging as overall champion in the 21st National sub-junior taekwondo championship held in Bangalore from May 23 to 25.

The hosts topped with 107 points while Maharashtra (100 pts) emerged as the runners-up. In the boys section, Uttar Pradesh (60 pts) claimed the top spot while Maharashtra (67) led the fray in the girls events.

Karnataka's final tilt at the peak also hinted at taekwondo's spread to the interiors. On the concluding day, Chetan P. Parishwad helped the host flag fly high with a clinical performance in the fly weight category final bout against Goa's Santosh Kumar. That Chetan hails from Dharwad, a North Karnataka town, does tell a tale of a sport that has its nascent roots spreading all over the country.

The bout was an intense affair but its fate was a foregone conclusion after Chetan's round house kicks helped him gain a fair lead in the opening rounds. Santosh Kumar waged a strong comeback in the third and final round but in the end it proved inadequate as Chetan won 7-6.

Karnataka's S. Dayananda (boys light middle weight), J. Shruthi (girls light middle) and D. Prateeksha (girls welter weight) also weighed in with golds and with Lalitha Devi (silver in fin weight), showing pluck and promise and an enthusiasm that kids never lack, the host does have a fresh supply of talent.

Maharashtra's ascent to the second spot was powered by its girls who swept the medals on the final day. Ashwini Tanaji Jadhav trounced Karnataka's Roopa S. Reddy 10-1. And the Marathi gale force blew strong and hard as Sapna Devidas Shinde's open thrust strikes overwhelmed Karnataka's M. R. Seema in the light weight final. Maharashtra's parting kicks proved nice and easy as Priyanka Remesh Das edged ahead with her round house kicks while evading Haryana's Jayati Pathak's back heel strikes in the light heavy weight final.

The Maharashtrian march had its early steps in Rupesh Nana Mali's triumph on the opening day. The diminutive lad grew tall with his deeds as he bagged gold at Tamil Nadu's T. Kesavaraj's expense in the fin weight category final. Kesavaraj had an ally in height and his kicks did cause some initial discomfort to Rupesh. However as the clash progressed, Kesavaraj lost focus and failed to time his kicks. In the concluding minutes he launched into a front thrust kick but was taken aback by Rupesh's instant counter — a strike kick that evaded Kesavaraj's feeble attempt to block. Rupesh eventually won at 7-5.

The championship also ushered in Uttar Pradesh's march into the top league of taekwondo States. And none epitomised the new found vigour in UP's progress more than Abrar Khan, who battled injury while carving out the gold against Jharkhand's Mangal Singh in the welter weight final.

Mangal Singh had his kicks in the early minutes and his back heel strikes did unnerve Abrar Khan. However the UP lad's dodges helped him to restrict the damage. A pronounced limp also marred Abrar's movements but he often managed to evade Mangal Singh's kicks and his counters — open thrust and the round house kicks — found their mark. Abrar won at 6-4. Manish Kumar's gold in the light weight final bout also lent glitter to UP's medal tally.

Goa, champions in the last edition at Margao, suffered a downswing in fortunes but had its moments of succour in the golds secured by Sanjivi Kamat (heavy weight), Innocencia Miranda (bantam weight) and Steffi Rebello (fin weight).

The championship lured in more than 600 participants and these under-14 kids with their unbridled enthusiasm do augur well for a Korean sport busy striking Indian roots. At the moment, India is hovering at the 30th spot in the World taekwondo rankings but the Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) president Maradi S. Chandrashekar believes that the sport is moving ahead in the Nation.

"If we groom talent at the junior levels, we will get the results in the next five to ten years," Maradi Chandrashekar said. Surinder Bhandari's bronze in the fly weight category at the Asian Games in Pusan, has lent the needed spark for teakwondo to take wings and the bouts witnessed at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium do hint at a sport that is bound to fly higher in the coming years.

The results: Boys:

Fly weight: 1. Chetan P. Parishwad (Kar), 7 pts; 2. J. Santosh Kumar (Goa), 6; 3. C. Sarath (Ker) and Lokesh Verma (Har). Light weight: 1. Manish Kumar (UP), 4; 2. Birju Pradhan (Sik); 3. Ajay Basfor (Asm) and S. Premkumar Meetei (Mnp). Light heavy weight: 1. Alok Gautham (MP), 1; 2. Sandeep Dahiya (Har); 3. D. Keshav Murthy (Kar) and Dixit Joshi (Uttaranchal).

Bantam weight: 1. Harish Rawal (Uttaranchal), 4 pts; 2. P. Satheesh Kannan (TN), 1; 3. Preetam Thapa (Sik) and Aman Kumar (Goa). Welter weight: 1. Abrar Khan (UP), 6 pts; 2. Mangal Singh (Jharkhand), 4; 3. Anil Yadav (MP) and J. Mukesh Kumar (AP). Middleweight: 1. Biren Pradhan (Sik), 3 pts; 2. W. Ronel Khaba (Mnp), 3. Nitin Raj (UP) and Lalramzuava (Miz).

Heavyweight: 1. N. Ibothe Singh (Mnp), 7 pts; 2. Pramod (MP), 3; 3. Tarun (Del) and S. Raghavendra (Kar). Fin weight: 1. Rupesh Nana Mali (Mha), 7 pts; 2. T. Kesavaraj (TN), 5; 3. Nevrick Monterio (Goa) and D. Babulal (Kar).

Featherweight: 1. Surendra Kumar Lal (UP), 4 pts; 2. Abhinav Maurya (Uttaranchal), 3; 3. K. Jimson Singh (Manipur) and Nitin Panwar (Punj). Light middle: 1. S. Dayananda (Kar), 3; 2. Satyavan Gaur (UP), 2; 3. Paras Kumar (Chd) and Kailash Rawat (Uttaranchal).


Fly weight: 1. Ashwini Tanaji Jedhav (Mah), 10; 2. Roopa S. Reddy (Kar), 1; 3. Nisha (Del) and Priya Singh (Cha). Light weight: 1. Sapna Devidas Shinde (Mah), 9; 2. M. R. Seema (Kar), 4; 3. Malsawm Dawng Zuali (Miz) and Shifali Saxena (UP).

Light heavy weight: 1. Priyanka Ramesh Das (Mah), 5; 2. Jayati Pathak (Har), 1; 3. Lata Rawat (Chd) and Anjali Sarang (UP). Bantam weight: 1. Innocencia Miranda (Goa); 2. Lalrindiki (Miz); 3. Nisha Khan (MP) and Reetu Beri (Har).

Welter weight: 1. D. Prateeksha (Kar), 5 pts; 2. Jyoti (Har), 5; 3. Ritika Sanwal (Uttaranchal) and Kanak Agarwal (MP).

Middle weight: 1. Sabina Sundas (Sik), 6 pts; 2. Jyoti P. Dhakne (Mah), 1; 3. Shefali Bora (Uttaranchal) and W. Jamuna Devi (Mnp).

Heavy weight: 1. Sanjivi Kamat (Goa), 7 pts; 2. Pratiksha A. Shiraskar (Mah), 3; 3. Baby Zothanpuri (Miz) and Surbhi (Del). Fin weight: 1. Steffi Rebello (Goa), 9 pts; 2. T. Lalitha Devi (Kar), 6; 3. P. Bhanumathi (AP) and Shubhangini Sah (Uttaranchal).

Feather weight: 1. J. Kavita (Goa), 5 pts; 2. Komal Toraskar (Mah), 1; 3. Risha P. Murthy (Kar) and Richa Rai (MP). Light middle: 1. J. Shruthi (Kar), 2; 2. Lalruat Puii (Miz); 3. Rupali Jaiwant Gangurde (Mah) and Geeta Chidar (MP).

Overall Team Champions: Karnataka, 107 pts; Runner-up: Maharashtra, 100.

Team champions: Boys: Uttar Pradesh, 60; runner-up: Karnataka, 51; Girls: Maharashtra, 67; runner-up: Goa, 59.

K. C. Vijaya Kumar