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Taekwondo girl wins Pradhan Mantri Puraskar: ‘Sports and studies important parts of life’

On Monday, as the taekwondo player was given the award in a virtual award on National Girl Child Day by PM Narendra Modi, the Chandigarh girl was asked by the Prime Minister about balancing her studies as well sports.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh |
Updated: January 25, 2022 5:08:20 am
Tarushi Gaur, from Chandigarh, was awarded the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2022 for her excellence in the field of Sports. (Twitter/@PIBChandigarh)

Two days ago when 12-year-old Chandigarh girl Tarushi Gaur got the news about her selection for the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar, the youngster was attending her online taekwondo classes. Such is her dedication towards the sport that Gaur, after receiving the news of her selection, continued with her online class for the next two hours.

On Monday, as the taekwondo player was given the award in a virtual award on National Girl Child Day by PM Narendra Modi, the Chandigarh girl was asked by the Prime Minister about balancing her studies as well sports. “Sir, I feel both sports as well studies are important parts of our lives. Studying as well playing can help us make the country proud,” Gaur told the PM.

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

“I feel proud as well happy that a taekwondo player was chosen for the award for the first time. To get the award on National Girl Child Day makes the feeling extra special. One thing which I have learned while pursuing mixed martial arts is the ability to defend oneself as well as how to help people in difficult situations. That is my message to all fellow children. Yes, we often get injured but practice has made me stronger. This award will motivate to achieve more for the country,” shared Gaur, who is a student of the British School, Chandigarh.

Tarushi’s father Vikrant Gaur is an engineer and her mother Meenakshi Gaur, is an educationist. Tarushi 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 the training sessions initially. After she became the Chandigarh champion in her age category her interest grew in the sport. In 2017, Tarushi managed to make it to the Guinness Book of World records for completing all the techniques Poomsae of Taekwondo 58 times in 30 minutes.

“We have always encouraged Tarushi to do whatever she likes. As a single child, we have always motivated her to give her best. Initially, I would be worried about her getting injured. People used to tell us that her face can get injured. But her medals are the biggest reward for us,” recalls mother Meenakshi.

The last five years have seen Tarushi winning13 international medals and 48 national ones. In 2019, she won three medals in the Kukkiwon International Taekwondo Championship at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi, where she emerged as the champion in the Poomsae category and two gold medals in the Kyorugi event. The same year she became the national champion in the under 24-kilo category in the sub-junior category in the National Championships at Hyderabad. “Winning the national title at Hyderabad was the biggest motivation in my career, apart from winning medals at the international level. After the pandemic, I was disappointed for some days. But we continued our online training, and it helped me concentrate more,” added Tarushi, who also happens to be the youngest first degree and second-degree black belt holder in India and also plays sqay and Tangsoodo martial arts apart from wushu and roller skating.

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