By Anupam Soni
ANY player who takes part in a big event, dreams of achieving glory. City’s martial art player Monika Padhi, who has won many medals and accolades in the past for the country, is no different.
Selected to represent India in the upcoming Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Birmingham, England from July 28 to August 8, Monika is delighted and expecting to better her all past performances.
“Obviously, I am very delighted to be selected to represent India. It is a very happy moment for me and my family. I will be participating in kumite in below 61 kg category in singles as well as team events. I will try my best to win a gold medal this time. My best performance till now is the silver medal in pencak silat (a form of martial art) that I won at Asian Games held at Jakarta in Indonesia in 2018. I would like to change colour of my medal this time,” said a confident 27-year-old Monika while talking to ‘The Hitavada’ on Wednesday.
She impressed the selectors during the trials for the Commonwealth Games.
“We had selection trials in Balewadi Stadium, Pune in June. I did well and was expecting to be selected in the Indian team,” added Monika.
Monika, who has been into martial arts at the age of eight, has a great career profile. Apart from Asian Games silver, she won a bronze in Commonwealth Karate Championship, New Delhi in 2015. She has been a medal winner at National Karate Championships in 2015 and 2019. She has also won Chhattisgarh State’s Shahid Pankaj Vikram award for best sportsperson in 2018. She was also part of Indian team in the Asian Beach Games, Vietnam Danang (2016).
“It has been 19 years since I took to martial arts. I got the basic training under Renshi Murli Singh Bhardwaj and am now preparing under Senpai Emmanuel Philip at his gymnasium MOD — The Fight Dojo, Nagpur. The preparation for Commonwealth Games is on the right track and I am feeling great about it,” said Monika, who is also a Fitness Certified Coach Level-2 (Functional Training & Sports Conditioning) and CrossFit Coach Level-1 and works as a senior coach at the gym MOD.