Hyderabad: For an Indian athlete to excel in one discipline, it requires immense hard work and dedication. With no guaranteed success with lack of support from all quarters – either financially or in facilities – sports in the country has always seen as a risky career option.
But for the 26-year-old Vivek Teja Cherupalli, it is an extra motivation to do the hard mile and set an example. Having taken up a game like karate which lacks a super star to set a precedent, Vivek has mastered the art and won several laurels at the international level. Adding to that, he has been training in six other martial arts – kickboxing, Muay Thai, Kalaripayattu, Silambam, Taekwondo and mixed martial arts (MMA).
With karate being his main forte – where he competed in 17 international competitions – he won over 27 gold medals in an overall haul of 60-odd medals at state, national and international levels.
His recent medal was at the 7th Malaysia Open international karate championship where he won a gold and a bronze in August. But given the status of the game with many associations fighting for the office and lack of financial assistance, he shifted his focus to boxing and training with renowned coach E Chiranjeevi since a year with an eye on the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
With the kind of hard work he puts in and with a proven coach in Chiranjeevi, Vivek is sure of booking a berth in quadrangular event and realising his dream of winning medal for the country.
Talking about his first choice game karate, he said that his interest grew at a young age of eight. After taking basic training at his native in Nalgonda, he went on to take professional training in karate and Thai kickboxing for three years in Thailand at the WKO academy with coach Judd Reid during 2012 to 2015. He also went to Indonesia and US for two-month training period to hone his skills.
When asked about how he started liking the game of boxing, he added that it was his coach Chiranjeevi because of whom he was took to the game. “I met my coach Chiranjeevi two years ago. After interacting with him I decided to take up boxing. I will make my debut this month with a tournament in city. I am sure of making big in boxing,” said a confident Vivek.
Having won several international karate medals, he struggled to meet the ends meet. His parents – father Dasaratha is a medical distributor and mother Lalitha is a school teacher – have exhausted all the finance to support him. They even moved to Hyderabad to provide him better training. But soon, their struggle started as they had little financial support to sustain his training and diet.
To meet the expenses, he started training celebrities like Telugu cinema star Venkatesh, Rana Daggubati and others. He also reasoned that the lack of support and clarity to the players in karate also forced him to shift his focus from karate to boxing.
The 26-year-old, who admires his coach Judd Reid, is training light heavyweight (75kg) category. He is desperately in search of sponsorship that could help him achieve his dream. “I have missed many tournaments due to lack of funds. It takes over a lakh per month for training and diet. I am giving classes in different martials arts and sustaining now. But I need government support and private sponsors to help me,” he added.
He also dreams of opening an academy for economically poor people and train them in martial arts that fall under Olympic category. “I want to open an international standard academy in the future. I will train those who can’t afford. I want to produce champions who bring medals for the country. I have seen the best of facilities in foreign countries. But we have nothing compared to them. So the success rate is very low here,” he rued.