Bruised yet upbeat: Chennai-based Nivedha Srinivasan recently won two medals at the Kickboxing World Cup in Turkey

These include a silver in the Light Contact category and a bronze in the Kick Light category

These include a silver in the Light Contact category and a bronze in the Kick Light category

Just before her bout, when Nivedha Srinivasan saw her Greek opponent, Barmpouti Androniki, do a full split on the floor, it gave her the chills. “I was scared. I saw how flexible she is. I can’t do a full split, ”says Nivedha over a call from Istanbul where she has just won a silver in the Light Contact category and bronze in the Kick Light category at the WAKO Seventh International Turkish Open Kickboxing World Cup – 2022. The 14 -year-old from Chennai is the only girl from India to win medals at the recently-concluded event.

A gold was what she wanted. All her focus was on winning. In fact, so much that when the Indian contingent went out to explore the charming city of Istanbul, Nivedha chose to stay back at the hotel and prepare.

Nivedha with Suresh Babu, coach and founder of Spitfire Kickboxing Academy | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

At the finals of the Light Contact category, Nivedha says her opponent scored three points without letting even her feet touch the floor. “She just kept kicking. So many face kicks! But I am glad I managed to stand through it. ”

It was Nivedha’s first time in a World Cup. . Her nose hurts but she is glad she got to experience this and understand what the competition on the international level is like. “I need to improve my flexibility and technique, and need more experience,” she analyzes. As for the aches and pains, she says, “We go through a lot of conditioning, so that doesn’t matter.”

She started kickboxing a year-and-a-half ago at the Spitfire Kickboxing Academy in Anna Nagar. It was something she took up in October 2020 as a result of the lockdown. “Sitting at home all day exhausted me,” she says. The other activities she enjoys are gymnastics, badminton, skateboarding and swimming. This time, she decided to learn martial arts. “I wanted to pursue karate but my mother suggested trying out something that not a lot of people do,” she adds.

Podium finish at the World Cup in Turkey

Podium finish at the World Cup in Turkey | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Prior to the World Cup, Nivedha scaled up her practice. Her coach made her run for 45 minutes every morning and that helped increase stamina. “I was able to stand and fight for four minutes,” she says. She sparred with girls and boys at the academy. While sparring with one of the boys she got a bruise under her eye just before leaving for Turkey. “We also had a national training camp in Chennai with 200 participants and six international coaches from Italy, Norway and Korea. We trained twice a day for two to three hours. ”

Charged by these wins, Nivedha says she is willing to put in all the practice that is required to match the standards of the international athletes. The thing with kickboxing is you need to be prepared and have strong technique. “Because you can never expect to know anything in advance. Only once you are on the tatami, you’ll know what’s going to happen as it happens. ” And that is a thrill she enjoys.

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