With all the hype surrounding the athletes taking part in the Commonwealth Games (CWG), there is a girl who is perhaps too shy to boast of her achievement although her choice of sport is not among the CWG disciplines.
Kalpana Devi (21) did the nation proud on Sunday by clinching bronze at the Judo World Cup in Uzbekistan and became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the World Cup.
Before taking part in the event, not many, including the national coach, had high hopes from Kalpana. “I knew she was good but I never expected her to win a medal. She has surprised everyone,” said national coach Virendra Singh.
Kalpana, whose expenses were borne by her employers, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, says, “Now, I want to win a medal at the Asian Games in Guangzhou (China).”
Kalpana, who took up the sport when she was just eight, is now a part of the Asian Games team. “A friend of mine took me to a judo club in 1997. I asked the trainer if I could join and he said yes. Since then I have always loved the sport,” added the Manipuri.
She, however, is disappointed that judo is not a part of CWG. “It would have been nice to perform at home but I can’t do anything about it,” said Kalpana.
The secretary of the Judo Federation of India, Mukesh Kumar, said he too was surprised by the girl’s achievement.
“We sent her thinking she would earn some points, which would help improve her chances to qualify for the London Olympics. But now that she has won a medal and also earned 60 points, we are confident of an Asian Games medal from her.”