Pune girl to represent India in karate contest

ST Correspondent
Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Jyotsna Lodhe (18) won a gold medal in Karate competition recently organised in New Delhi

Pune: A city-based girl Jyotsna Lodhe (18) has achieved a ‘powerful’ win. Fighting poverty and disadvantages, Jyotsna brought an ecstatic smile to her mother Vandana, a waste picker with her achievement of a gold medal in a Karate competition recently held at Delhi. 

Nonetheless, Jyotsna will represent India in Japan soon. Her achievement speaks volumes about her skill and talent, and also her happiness to represent India overseas. “I am very happy. I had never imagined or expected that an activity which I had started as a hobby would give a chance to represent my country,” said Jyotsna, who is otherwise quiet and softspoken but comes alive when she is on Karate mats. She wants to pursue her career in Karate and start classes for children to encourage students to learn Karate.

Vandana, who is a single mother earns, Rs 6,000 per month for living. Vandana’s husband died of an ailment in 2001, after which her family refused to support her further. 

Left with no other option than earning for her family, Vandana started working as a waste picker 12 years ago. She was the sole earner for her family of three, two daughters and herself. Her elder daughter has recently shifted to their native place and Jyotsna is the younger one.

A student of Aranyeshwar Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Sahakar Nagar, she started pursuing Karate seven years ago, when her sports teacher had first introduced it to her. “I developed an interest and passion for the sport slowly,” said Jyotsna who like any other child had less interest in academics.

Her coach Mohit Sethia who has been teaching her for the past seven years, said, “She has worked wonders to reach and fulfil a dream that I could not realise for myself. Imagine what she can do with the right diet, facilities and exposure.”  He believes that she will bring glory to India and Pune. “This exposure is a must for her to grow in the sport,” he said adding she could have charted out a career in it and rise above the circumstances that have dogged her mother’s ambitions”. 

With the help of colleagues, Vandana managed to get Jyotsna a passport. However, now, Vandana has another challenge to overcome. She has to make arrangements for visa and ticket. Even after contribution from colleagues and trusts, she has fallen short by about Rs one lakh.Yet with a hope in her eyes, she said, “I am not giving up on my daughter’s chance to avail this amazing opportunity.”

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