Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar: Chandigarh taekwondo girl is all about focus, dedication and hard work

Two days ago, when Tarushi Gaur, a 12-year-old girl from Chandigarh learned of her selection for the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar, the youngster was attending her taekwondo lessons online. Such was his dedication to the sport that Gaur, upon receiving the news of his selection, continued his online course for the next two hours.

As the taekwondo player received the award in a virtual award on National Day of the Girl by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, the Chandigarh girl was asked by the Prime Minister about balancing her studies and sports. “Sir, I think sports and studies are important parts of our lives. Studying and playing can help us make the country proud,” Gaur told the prime minister.

The Chandigarh girl, who has won a total of 275 medals in her career so far, was one of 29 recipients of the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar award and was among eight sportsmen chosen for the national award which carries also a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.

“I am proud and happy that a taekwondo player has been chosen for the first time. Receiving the award on National Girls’ Day makes the feeling even more special. One thing I learned while practicing mixed martial arts is the ability to stand up for yourself as well as how to help people in difficult situations. This is my message to all other children. Yes, we often get hurt, but practice has made me stronger. This award will motivate to do more for the country,” said Gaur, who is a student at the British School, Chandigarh.

Tarushi’s father, Vikrant Gaur, is an engineer and his mother, Meenakshi Gaur, is an educationalist. Tarushi had joined taekwondo at the age of five at the Emerald Martial Arts Academy in Panchkula under coach Shiv Raj Gharti.

The only child of her parents, Tarushi was often accompanied by her mother for training at the start. After becoming Chandigarh champion in her age category, her interest in the sport increased. In 2017, Tarushi managed to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for completing all Taekwondo Poomsae techniques 58 times in 30 minutes.

“We have always encouraged Tarushi to do what she wants. As a single child, we have always motivated her to give her best. At first, I was worried that she would get hurt. people were telling us that his face could be hurt, but his medals are the biggest reward for us,” recalls mother Meenakshi.

Over the past five years, Tarushi has won more than 275 medals at national, national and international levels, including 13 international and 48 national medals. In 2019, the girl won three medals at the Kukkiwon International Taekwondo Championship at the Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi – where she became champion in the Poomsae category and two gold medals in the Kyorugi event. In the same year, she became the national champion in the under 24 kilo category in the sub-junior category of the national championships in Hyderabad.

“Winning the national title in Hyderabad was the biggest motivation of my career, apart from winning medals at international level. After the pandemic, I was disappointed for a few days. But we continued our training online, and that helped me focus more. We also saw a few international competitions online including 115 speedkicks done in one minute. I was preparing for the under 29 kg category for the upcoming national championships, but it was postponed due to the third wave of Covid,” added Tarushi, who also happens to be the youngest first and second degree black belt holder in India and also plays sqay and Tangsoodo martial arts apart from wushu and ice skating. casters.

Coach Gharti remembers Tarushi as an energetic young lad in his academy. “His greatest strength was the enthusiasm shown, whether at the start or at the end of a training session. As she aims to compete in higher weight classes after she turns 14, increasing her speed will be key. His goal is to represent India at the Olympics and win a medal,” Gharti said.

Tarushi echoed Gharti’s thought. “I look up to London Olympics bronze medalist boxer Mary Kom. How she has taken on different roles as player, mother and wife motivates us all. I also look up to Paralympic Games taekwondo player from Tokyo, Aruna Tanwar. I hope one day I can win a medal for India in the Olympics,” shared the youngster, who also enjoys bhangra.

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