By Divyansh Thakur
The name of Judoka Tulika Maan, who won a silver medal in Birmingham Commonwealth Games, and has been undergoing judo training at the National Centre of Excellence, Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bhopal, was not in the list of Commonwealth players.
But her Coach Yashpal Solanki was confident of Tulika’s victory. The coach took special permission for her and she proved the authorities wrong by making history and winning a silver medal in Birmingham, England, on Wednesday. Tulika Maan won consecutive quarter-finals and semi-finals in the 78Kg category. In the final, she lost to the world’s number one Judoka Sarah Adlington of Scotland.
The players undergoing training at SAI’s Bhopal Centre saw Tulika’s semi-final match all together. During the match, the breath of all the players remained stuck. As soon as Tulika played the wrong move, the whole hall reverberated with a saddening sound and at the same time, as soon as she slammed the person in front, the hall would echo with applause. As Tulika won a silver medal everyone jumped with joy. They started congratulating each other.
SAI’s selection committee forwarded Tulika’s name: Tulika’s coach, Arjun Awardee Yashpal Solanki said that Tulika’s name was not in the list of players selected for the Commonwealth Games. “We fought for her. SAI’s selection committee sent her name to IOA, then Tulika was allowed to go to Commonwealth and it seems like our efforts were successful,” the coach concludes. Tulika’s mom played an important role after her father’s demise: Tulika, who is six feet tall and weighs 95 kg, most of it solid muscle, flexed her biceps and roared in Amozonian celebration on making it to the final. But the grass was not always green for her as well. Behind her victory is the fight of her single mother who is Delhi Police cop. Tulika, whose father was murdered when she was just two years old, and was raised by her mother who is an ASI in Delhi Police now, was inconsolable after the loss. Her mother has played an important role in her sporting journey. For this reason Tulika takes her mother’s surname.