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‘The first time I saw a kickboxing video, I felt it was my future’

8-year-old kickboxer, Tanmay from Apeejay Svran Global, Faridabad has defeated boys greater than his age and size



Don’t let his cute demeanor and poise lead you to think that he is a regular 8-year-old boy. When he was 4, Tanmay Sharma from Apeejay Svran Global School, Faridabad had resolved to become a kickboxer. Practicing the sport since the last three years, in an interview he talks about how his parents encouraged him to participate in National and International-level competitions. His mother, Vandana Sharma also shares insight on how she is helping her ward be prepped for the future. Edited excerpts from the interview. Read on:

How did Tanmay begin at the sport?

Vandana Sharma: As I was expecting my second child, I noticed Tanmay putting on some weight. In order to get him to become fit, I made him join NIT-3 academy in Faridabad. Soon after he had joined, in 15-20 days, the coaches informed us about an open state match. Tanmay was learning well at that time, so they encouraged him to participate in it. When he went for his match, his opponent was bigger than him, not only in age but in height and weight as well. Even after that, he won a gold medal and that was the beginning of his journey in the sport. He was a kindergarten student at that time.

Tanmay: I began training under Laxman Das sir at the academy. At present, two coaches, Sachin Kumar sir, and Ajay Saini sir teach me kickboxing.

How has the experience been at several National, International competitions?

Tanmay: I have participated and won in several International, National, State and District level competitions. At some, I won gold, others got me silver and bronze medals. It is challenging but very exciting for me. My recent achievement is to win 3 gold medals in District-level Kickboxing competition organised by Faridabad District Kickboxing Association (FDKA) under 7-9 years category. I feel that each match is about an experience and I always practice rigorously in the last 15 days.

In one of my matches, I remember my opponent being from a higher-level category and he won many points against me. But I ended up winning and receiving a gold medal because it is all about technique.

Vandana Sharma: My endeavour has been to try my level best so that Tanmay doesn’t feel any pressure, be it sports or academics. I am also deeply thankful to Mr. Santosh Kumar Agrawal, President, WAKO India Kickboxing Federation who has inspired Tanmay for his sports journey and given him the right opportunities.

How does one balance sports and studies?

Vandana Sharma: Tanmay has been regular with his studies. On our way to the academy each day, we revise his lessons and I ask him questions to see if he remembers what he has studied in the day. We have worked on time-management collectively so that he can balance both.

Tanmay: I like to study and focus on my subjects.

Has the pandemic impacted Tanmay’s practice?

Vandana Sharma: Not really, though he has not taken a single holiday from his practice sessions. During the pandemic, he couldn’t participate in any tournaments but online international competitions where he could perform the musical form of movements could be done. He performed with equipment such as sword, sticks, knife etc. and won silver and bronze medals.

What is the current focus?

Tanmay: From kick-boxing, I have now shifted to learning Taekwondo and Lightsaber Fencing, a sport that is played out with swords.

Vandana Sharma: Kickboxing is a sport that is not yet recognised in the Olympics. We are looking for Tanmay to learn Lightsaber Fencing because it is up and coming.

Any tips for fellow parents?

Vandana Sharma: I feel that a child should be able to choose what he wants to do. If s/he wants to pursue sports then let him/her do it and don’t expect them to get 99.9% in studies. I have always focused on my child’s mental peace first because we are living in a very competitive and challenging time. It’s not just the kids, us, parents too, are under a lot of pressure because we feel that we constantly want to win. Parents should polish their ward, but not push their will on them. 

Mrini Devnani is a Principal Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, conducts interviews, and contributes content to the website. Previously, she served as a Correspondent specialising in Edu-tech for the India Today Group. Her skill areas extend to Social Media and Digital Marketing. For any inquiries or correspondence, you can reach out to her at [email protected].