Hyderabad: Hyderabad’s taekwondo player Bode Sai Deepak, who holds four Guinness World Records to his name, is set to add another feather in his cap. The 24-year-old is on course to become the first from the State to represent the country in an Olympic ranking event in taekwondo.
The youngster, who competes in the 68kg weight category, will begin his pursuit at the Russia Open beginning Saturday. He will then compete in the Albania Open. Inspired by Indian gold medal winning Olympic shooter Abhinav Bindra, the Hyderabad lad hopes to represent India in the Olympics.
However, his journey to the Indian team was filled with obstacles. He suffered an ACL tear in his right knee during training in 2019 and was bed-ridden for six months after surgery. “I suffered an injury in October 2019. I wanted to resume taekwondo. With no qualified coaches in the State, I have done a lot of research and got in touch with coach Praveen Sunkul from Pune. I met and on his advice, I underwent surgery. I went to Abhinav Bindra’s High Performance Centre in Pune where they have charted out strength and conditioning programmes after surgery. Once I recovered, I shifted my base to Pune for training,” he revealed.
Having competed in various tournaments in different countries, Deepak realised the importance of qualified coaching to make it to the Indian team and compete in Olympics. With the help of a few sponsors, he began his journey in Pune in June. “I was also into karate and Kung Fu. But my dream is to represent India in the Olympics. So I shifted my focus to taekwondo. My first focus is to be among the top 5 in the country in my age category by the end of next year so that I can compete in Asian ranking tournaments first and then aim for the Olympics. But I also need sponsorship to pursue my dream.”
After making it to the Indian team for these ranking tournaments, Deepak was asked to bear the travel expenses by the Taekwondo Federation of India as it could not support athletes. He managed to get a sponsor in time. “Playing in these tournaments will help me improve my rankings,” said Deepak who had earlier trained with Jayant Reddy, Moiuddin and Venkatesham in Hyderabad before shifting to Pune. Deepak entered Guinness Book of records when he set most full contact elbow strikes (142) in a minute, most full contact knee strikes (175) in three minutes, most single leg full contact knee strikes (87) while wearing 5kg ankle weights in three minutes and most side lunges in one minute (59) by male in one minute.
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