Hyderabad: It is a story of two Telangana kickboxers who took difficult routes to be part of the Indian team. While 12-year-old Lahari M Girish took to the game at a very young age and performed exceedingly well, 18-year-old Ashish Chand battled financial woes to realise his dream. Both these State athletes are set for their maiden international tournament – World Kickboxing Championship, in Cairo Egypt, that began on Thursday.
Lahari, hailing from Begumpet, took to karate at a very young age of 2 years and six months because of her parents Laxmi and Girish. She achieved the black belt from the Karate Association of India in 2018 when she was 10 years old. She shifted her focus to kickboxing in 2016 and won her first degree black belt in 2019 from Kickboxing Federation of India in Sonipat. She went on to represent Telangana in nationals and won two gold and a bronze medal. That paved her way to the Indian team. She also has multiple medals at nationals in karate discipline too. The eight class student from Niraj Public School, Ameerpet is set to take the ring in the sub-junior 45+kg weight category.
Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Ashish, who completed his Class XI from Little Star School, will compete in -54kg category in the junior category. Speaking about Ashish’s tryst with kickboxing, his coach Arun Singh at I Combat Sports academy, said, “Six year ago, he used to come to Dwarakadas Park in Begumpet and watch us train. One day, he came to me and said he wants to train with us. After understanding his financial struggle, I started training him without charging any fee. He improved his game quickly and went on to win medals for district and then for the State at nationals. He won gold medals in the last three nationals and that sealed a spot in the Indian team.”
However, he made it to Cairo thanks to his colony people who helped him with money for him. Ashish’s father Ajay Chand is a private van driver and could not afford expenses for his son’s travel. But a determined Ashish took help from his friends and colony people and collected the fund. Coach Arun Singh hoped that both the athletes return with medals that could boost their game further.
Meanwhile, K Sanjay, another Telangana coach, is pursuing International Certification Course in Egypt and once he completes it clearing both theoretical and practical exams, he will receive the certificate.
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