West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee always packed a fair punch. All she lacked was a formal degree. Now she is about to get one — a taekwondo black belt from none less than the sport’s apex body.
The “agnikanya” has now drawn admiration even in South Korea and the Seoul-based Kukkiwon will confer the black belt on her in February.
“Kukkiwon is handing over the degree to salute her fighting spirit and enthusiasm for the sports,” said Pradipto Roy, former Taekwondo world champion and the first Taekwondo Hall of Fame recipient of India.
The title would put Banerjee on par with two international celebrities — US president Barrack Obama and British soccer star David Beckham. In India, her peers will be Bollywood star and West Bengal’s brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan and Mizoram’s chief minister 73-year old Pu Lalthanhawla.
But there’s a difference, pointed out Roy. Both SRK and Lalthanhawla were bestowed the degree through franchisees or members of Kukkiwon. This is the first time the Taekwondo body would come to India to confer a degree on an Indian.
“In fact, chief director of Kukkiwon, Youn Kook Park, who is also a noted politician in Korea, will confer the award,” said Roy.
Taekwondo is a traditional Korean martial art that emphasizes kicking and punching techniques.
“The CM will receive a certificate and a traditional Taekwondo uniform with a black belt. After the ceremony, she would become a Taekwondo grandmaster,” added Roy.