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14-year-old girl wins gold at national kickboxing championship; aims to join Indian Army

The school girl won three gold medals back-to-back at the state, district, and the national level



Mahi Saxena, a class 10 student of Apeejay International School, Greater Noida, clinched a gold medal at the recently held Wako India National Kickboxing Championship 2022, held in Jaipur at Sawai Man Singh Stadium. The 14-year-old participated in the national championship along with nearly 900 players from 18 states.

This is Mahi’s third gold medal in a row; she had earlier participated in the state and district-level kickboxing championship as well. The young champion has proved her talent with successive achievements quite early on in her journey, considering she began kickboxing just a few months back.

“I was going through a phase of frustration when my brother suggested I try kickboxing. I had prior knowledge of karate, which I learned in class 5. So, my brother motivated me,” recalls the sports enthusiast, who had been participating actively in school sports events as well, from swimming to athletics, kho kho, football, and many more.

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Taking her brother’s advice, Mahi began her training in March, thrice a week, with coach Shivalik Raj of Brigade Marsal Arts Academy, who was also her karate trainer. After some months of hardcore training, she went on to play her first match at the state level in June 2022. The following match was held at the district level in July, after which she played at the national level in September. “I was in tears when the results were announced. My coach said he was proud of me and that meant a lot. I called my parents, and they were very happy,” she adds.

Mahi says she did not find training to be hectic, even in the initial days. “I was always interested in games like this, so I did not feel too much pressure. However, I had to keep a check on my fitness and diet. I had a good number of rest days too. Having a good night’s sleep is very important.” Talking about her daily diet and fitness routine, the Apeejay student shares, “In the mornings, I went running. I exercised consistently—I practised punches and kicks and also lifted weights sometimes. My diet consisted of high protein—I ate chickpeas, chicken, eggs, and paneer. My coach asked me to gain a little weight so my meals also included roti and rice.” 

Amidst all, the young girl learned to manage her mental health better, the reason she began kickboxing in the first place. “Kickboxing helped me feel a lot more relaxed. When you punch something, it helps you rid yourself of all that negative energy, and that helps me immensely.” She adds, “I believe everyone should know kickboxing…it is part of self-defence and therefore beneficial.” 

For now, Mahi is awaiting another kickboxing tournament towards the end of this year. Will she pursue kickboxing as her career? “Not sure…but I want to join the Indian Army someday,” she states.  

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.