Bengaluru: Fourteen-year-old Chaitra, started practicing karate on the insistence of her father Narayan when she was seven. Little did she know that she will fall in love with this martial art and go on to win 36 gold medals in India and abroad.For her dedication and achievement towards martial art, she is fondly called as the 'Karate Princess' and 'Black Belt' in her school and her neighbourhood.
Chaitra has won the prestigious Kohai cup held at in Poland and Serbia is a black belt (II) holder. Recently she won a silver medal at the Under-14 competition held at New Delhi.Every day she practices for minimum three hours, apart from one hour regular training at her school. Deccan Chronicle spoke to Chaitra after she had wrapped up her daily practice for the day at Malleswaram ground.
“Women are always considered weak and inferior. There is a belief that women are weak physically, but we are really not! I wanted to prove them wrong. So I started practising karate seriously" Chaitra said.
Her interest towards karate has not affected her studies in any way. Even after dedicating hours together for the karate practice daily, Chaitra who is in her 9th standard at Nirmala Rani High School, Malleswaram, said that her concentration on studies have increased and she is able to grasp things quickly.She said that her mother Geetha is supportive and prepares the required diet for Chaitra's practice and her father Narayan is her main pillar of support.
Her coach Ms Mahalaxmi R, a national champion in karate and currently the general secretary of Japan Shotokan Karate Do India, is more than proud of her disciple and says that more women need to come forward in the field and beat the stigma against a sport like this through participation.
"Martial arts aren’t as big as it should be in our country. There is still this unpopular vibe in the mindset of the people thinking it is a violent sport, which it isn’t. Participation is the key to break such boundarie’s? and Chaitra is rightly doing this ?" Mahalakshmi said. She along with sensei Jayakumar are helping Chaitra win medal after medals.
As for her future plans, Chaitra said she wants to represent India in Olympics and win a gold medal. She also wants to start her own school in the city to train children in martial arts in future with special focus on girls.