The ninth Asian Wushu Championships were held recently from September 1 to September 5 at Taoyuan in Taiwan, and Indian team produced a magnificent performance at the Asian sporting event with nine medals to its credit. Even though Indian team did not win any gold medal, it did bag four silver and five bronze medals. L Budhachandra Singh was the first Indian to win a medal when he lost in the gold medal bout against Van Bau from Vietnam in the 56 kg category. Praveen Kumar became the second medalist for India when he lost to Minh Duc Vu in the 48 kg finals. K Arunpama Devi and Rajinder Singh were the other silver medalists for India in the 60 kg and 90 kg categories respectively.
The bronze medalists
Yumnam Sanathoi Devi won a bronze medal in the 52 kg category and continued her impressive streak of performance that had started during the last Asian Games where she had won a bronze medal as well. Pooja Kadian won a bronze medal in the 65 kg category alongwith Rajani Deori in 75 kg and Vishakha Malik in 70 kg category. Uchit Sharma also won a bronze medal in the 75 kg category.
What is wushu?
Wushu can be regarded as a combination of kung-fu, a form of martial art that originated in China, and gymnastics. The art of kung-fu was started in China by Sage Bodhidhamma, when he went there from India to preach Buddhism. It was meant to make warriors out of the monks. Wushu has two separate forms – Taolu and Sanda. Taolu is one where competitors display various routines that are with and without arms. Sanda is the combat component and sees the participants take part in competitions of free-fighting.
When was Wushu introduced in India?
Wushu Association of India was formed in 1989 and that was how India became acquainted with the sport. The association is presently working out of Lucknow. The sport made its debut at National Games in 2011 when it was organized at Ranchi.
Preparation for tournament
Indian wushu team prepared extensively before the tournament by going on an exposure trip to Shandong China that lasted from 1st to 30th July. Indian team was led by Kuldeep Handoo from Jammu and Kashmir as the official cum coach.
The championships saw athletes from 24 countries taking part in the events. As may be usual in these competitions, China came first followed by Iran and Vietnam. The previous edition had been held in 2012 at Ho Chi Minh City and India had won 10 medals – nine bronze medals and a silver medal – over there. So, it can be said that even though India won less number of medals – 9 to 10 – it performed much better in terms of winning medals that are rated higher.
What does this mean for India?
This is great news for any and every sports fan in India. This is a time when the nation expected plenty of medals from Olympics – at least in the double digits, one feels – but nothing of that sort transpired. This success comes as a breath of fresh air for the people disappointed by Olympic results. This also means that as and when wushu becomes an Olympic sport – it can jolly well become one in the foreseeable future if golf can be included in Olympics – India will have a decent chance of landing some medals and that is one dream that many sports aficionados will be ready to hold on to for the time being.