Sukanya – Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s pet project to provide self-defence training to girls in the state – achieved a significant feat after five beneficiaries of the project from the city won five gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the Kickboxing WAKO World Cup 2016 held in Russia in September this year.
The five girls, from four schools and one college in the city, were part of a team of 62 players that represented India in the World Cup held from September 21 to 28.
Anushka Nath of Taki Government Girls’ High School won a gold medal in Light Contact segment and Kick Light segment each. Alisha Khan, a student of St Thomas’ Girls’ School, won a silver medal in Light Contact and a bronze medal in Kick Light segment.
Class X student Sahisnuta Sinha of Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya secured one gold medal in Kick Light and a silver medal in Light Contact segment.
Dipanita Roy of Surah Kanya Vidyalaya won a gold medal in Kick Light and a gold medal in Light Contact segment. Finally, Priya Das, a student of Behala College, won a Bronze medal in Light Contact segment.
Besides the students who received training under the Sukanya project, Pragya Sharma, who was supported by the Howrah Police Commissionerate, also won a gold medal in Kick Light segment and a silver medal in Point Fight segment.
Most of the successful students belong to middle-class families and aspire to take up kickboxing as their profession.
After achieving success at one of the world’s biggest platforms for kickboxing, all the winners now want to participate in more competitions at different levels.
Sukanya was initiated in 2014 by Kolkata Police, in collaboration with the Women Development and Social Welfare department, to provide a three-month self defence training to school-going girls. Moreover, no restriction was imposed on those who wanted to carry on with the training.
Interestingly, a section of the trainees were very keen on taking up kickboxing as their career and they continued with the training.
In the past two years, all of them ended up becoming successful in state and national level championships. They were eventually selected to represent India.
However, the path to attain success was not easy for all. Some of the five students had to carefully manage their studies and kickboxing practice at the same time.
They had never been marked absent in school for attending their practice sessions. Instead, they went to the training centre twice a day. They used to go for one four-hour practice session in the morning and another training session in the evening after school.
Dipanita Roy said: “We have to go further. But my finally destination is to be a trainer. The reason being I want more girls to get training in kickboxing.”
Another champion, Sahisnuta, said that they practiced at least four to five hours each day before going for the World Cup in Russia and the guidance of their coach Montu Das helped them a lot.
Das said that it always feels good when hard work starts bearing fruit. “I want more girls and youth to get trained in kickboxing. It keeps us healthy and at the same time is helpful for self protection,” he said.