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Student Achiever: ‘Balancing sports and academics is challenging but rewarding’

The teachers of Apeejay School Faridabad made it possible for this Taekwondo champion to win Gold and Bronze medals

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Choosing a school that offers students a perfect blend of academics and extracurricular activities makes it possible to find their talent – be it dancing, singing, or sports. Meet Akshita Khurana, a student of class XI at Apeejay School, Faridabad in Sector 15, who is not only an accomplished individual but holds a Black Belt DAN 1 and is an international Taekwondo player.

Recently, she clinched a Gold Medal at the CBSE National Taekwondo Championship held at Gagan Public School, Noida, and a Bronze at the School Games Taekwondo Championship in Madhya Pradesh. Her aspirations include bringing more laurels to the country in the upcoming Asian Games, Olympics, and World Championships.

In a candid interview, Akshita talks about all her accomplishments and the role time management has played in her success.

Tell us about yourself.

In my class XI, I have taken up Physics, Math, and Chemistry. I want to pursue engineering, especially Computer Science.  There is something about computers that fascinates me. I am, therefore, preparing for the JEE exams.

You have won a lot of medals in Taekwondo. Can you share your accomplishments?

Besides the above-mentioned medals, I have participated in the National Federation Taekwondo Championship in Karnataka. At the state level, I won gold medals at various championships including the CBSE North Zone II Taekwondo Championship in Patiala, the 56th Haryana State School Games Taekwondo Championship in Sonipat, and the 35th Haryana State Junior Boys/Girls Taekwondo Championship in Ambala.

At the district level, I have secured Gold medals at the Khel Maha Kumbh District Taekwondo Championship in Faridabad, the Faridabad District School Games Taekwondo Championship in Samaypur, and the 20th Faridabad District Taekwondo Championship.

How did you get interested in this sport?

I started doing Taekwondo when I was in kindergarten. My parents sent me to practice Taekwondo, and slowly I developed an interest in it. Now, I am very passionate about it. So much so that I started participating in different competitions and won several medals. I practice regularly, and my interest has shifted towards Taekwondo.

Can you describe your daily routine, considering you have to balance JEE studies, Taekwondo practice, and school?

Balancing sports and academics is challenging but rewarding. My day starts with Taekwondo practice in the morning, followed by school. After school, I attend coaching for JEE. I manage to keep up with my homework and Taekwondo practice throughout the day. I practice Taekwondo for about one-and-a-half-to-two hours daily.  I also practice on weekends, especially if I have upcoming tournaments. I don’t count the hours then; I just give my 100 per cent.

One lesson you’ve learnt from practicing Taekwondo.

Taekwondo has significantly helped to balance my mental and physical health. It has made me mentally strong, improved my confidence, leadership qualities, and taught me how to manage different aspects of my life.

Do you follow a special diet for Taekwondo?

It’s important to maintain a diet consistently throughout the year. I follow a protein-rich diet to help improve my muscle strength.

Is there a particular move in Taekwondo that you are known for?

Yes, I am known for a specific drop kick; kicks in Korean are called chagi; this is a significant move in my sport.

How has your school supported you with your Taekwondo tournaments and studies?

My school has been incredibly supportive. The teachers have offered extra classes and helped me catch up with the syllabus. I haven’t needed to go to tuition because of this support. I remember when I was in class X, I needed help with English. I would stay back in the school and the teachers would be there to guide me.

How have your parents supported you through your academic and sports endeavors?

My parents deserve much of the credit for my achievements. They have consistently supported me by attending my tournaments and never holding me back, even under stressful conditions.

You have also earned a scholar badge for four consecutive years. What’s your secret to excelling in both sports and academics?

Yes, I have been a scholar badge holder for consecutive years – from 2019-2022. Time management is crucial. Creating a schedule that allocates sufficient time for both sports and academics is essential. Also, prioritising tasks is key to managing both areas effectively.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.

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