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Taekwondo can help girls win Olympic medals and fend off bad elements too, says black belt holder Yashika

The class 11 student of Apeejay School, Faridabad has won more than 80 medals in Taekwondo



Yashika Khurana is a holder of Black Belt DAN2 in Taekwondo. The 15-year-old had won over 80 medals in Taekwondo at international, national and district level events. She recently clinched three gold medals in the 33rd Haryana State Senior Taekwondo Championship held at Ambala.  In an interview, Yashika, who is also the district brand ambassador for Faridabad for the Central government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, says Taekwondo improves self-esteem and builds confidence.

Tell us about your recent wins.

I clinched three gold medals in the 33rd Haryana State Senior Taekwondo Championship. I won gold in the U-62 kg category, U-30 years Poomsae Individual Category and U-30 years Poomsae Pair Category. Poomsae are a set sequence of movements that consists of the various fundamental stances, blocks, punches and kicks logically arranged in a meaningful order in response to attacks from multiple imaginary assailants. The participants are judged on the basis of their technique, knowledge, attitude, focus, posture, timing, and power among others.

When did you start learning Taekwondo?

I have been practicing Taekwondo for eight years now. I was introduced to the sport in school and fell in love with it instantly. Then, I approached a nearby academy to further hone my skills. In class 5, I played my first Nationals in Visakhapatnam and won gold. Since then, I have been qualifying for the Nationals every year. In 2017, I took part in my first international tournament called Asian Championship held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I have won more than 80 medals in Taekwondo.

What do you like about Taekwondo?

With origins in Korea, Taekwondo is one of the oldest martial arts in the world. It teaches more than physical fighting skills. It gives you skills and mindset to face any challenge. It also brings discipline in your life. I want every girl in India to learn Taekwondo to defend themselves against the bad elements of society. By learning Taekwondo, girls won’t just win medals at the Olympics but also learn self-defence and how to carry themselves with confidence.

How does it feel to be appointed as brand ambassador for the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign?

It was indeed a big honour. Under the campaign, I have given training in self-defence to hundreds of girls from various government schools.

How was the experience of imparting self-defence training to schoolgirls?

The girls were lacking in self-confidence, so I first taught them how to carry themselves in a strong and bold way. It’s a fact that anti-social elements target girls who come across as weak and timid. Then I taught them various self-defence techniques to ward off attackers in real-life situations.

How do you strike a balance between studies and Taekwondo?

I thank the school for ensuring that my studies don’t take a hit due to my active involvement in Taekwondo. Teachers have gone out of their way by giving me classes after school hours. They have supported me in every possible manner and encouraged me to always give my best. I believe students should give equal emphasis to studies and extra-curricular activities.

What are your future plans?

I want to clear the UPSC exam and become an IAS or IPS officer and serve my country.

“I’ve received various injuries in Taekwondo. I have fractured my left ankle, broken my thumb and got nasty stitches on my lips. Pain is temporary but the pride after winning a competition is permanent.”

-Yashika Khurana

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]