'My Army coaches and mentors gave me self-belief by motivating me and telling me constantly 'tu yeh kar sakta hai' (you can do it), right before the tournament,' Wushu world champion Praveen Kumar said
New Delhi: India’s Praveen Kumar, who won a historic gold at the World Wushu Championships, has credited Army coaches for his achievement in Shanghai.
The 22-year-old Praveen from Haryana created history recently in China. Praveen defeated Philippines' Russel Diaz by 2-1 in the 48 kg category to win the gold medal.
Also read: Praveen Kumar wins historic gold
"My Army coaches and mentors gave me self-belief by motivating me and telling me constantly 'tu yeh kar sakta hai' (you can do it), right before the tournament," Praveen told Sports Authority of India (SAI).
"Every night, as I lay in bed, even I started thinking that I could do it. Then I started working hard and during the camp two months back, I made up my mind, 'agar aaana hai toh gold leke hi aana hai' (If I have to get a medal, it has to be gold)" said Praveen.
The Haryana boy took up wushu after watching a state-level tournament in Rohtak way back in 2011-12.
"It had kicks, punches, throws and that intrigued me. I approached Pramod Kataria, who was working with CRPF to help me with the sport," recalls 22-year-old Praveen.
He won a silver medal in the junior nationals in 2014 and a gold medal at the senior nationals next year.
He failed to qualify for the World Championships in 2017, after he had to settle for silver at the Taiwan Asian Championships in 2016.
However, his determination saw him win the historic gold for the country this year.
Praveen said it was tough when he first took to the sport.
"My parents were unaware of the sport and friends would make fun of the name 'wushu'. I started showing them fight videos and then they started taking interest in it," he said.
"I now get many calls from youngsters and their parents who want to know where they can start their training," Praveen added.
"My suggestion is to start to with a mixed regime with focus on punches and throws. As for me, my favourite technique is throwing with a single leg takedown as well as the right thigh kick!"
(With inputs from ANI)
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