Wushu coach Kuldeep Handoo receives Dronacharya Award
Indian Wushu team coach Kuldeep Handoo on Saturday became the first Dronacharya awardee from Jammu and Kashmir upon being conferred the honour by President Ramnath Kovind during a virtual ceremony in Chandigarh.
Elated over the feat, Handoo said it was a dream come true for him and his family.
Handoo was an adolescent Kashmiri Pandit when he had to flee Kashmir with his family due to Pak-sponsored militancy. He came to Jammu and took up Wushu to overcome the pain and agony of leaving his home and hearth.
In his initial days, he learnt taekwondo from his coach Vishal Sharma and practiced on uneven ground by the side of the boxing rink at the MA Stadium here.
Due to the Covid pandemic, the award ceremony was held at different venues. Handoo attended the one in Chandigarh.
“I’m delighted and excited. I waited very long for this moment. It is a dream come true for me,” said Handoo, attributing the achievement to his mother Phoola Handoo and father Jawahar Lal Handoo.
“They did a lot for me and never left my side. Though I was good in studies, my mother always supported me in pursuing my passion in sports. My parents went through difficult times after we had to flee Kashmir due to militancy,” he said.
Handoo has decided to take the sport to new heights in India and at the international forum.
Currently serving as an inspector in JK Police, Handoo also thanked his wife Bhavneet for taking special care of his parents and son Bhavkul in his absence.
In 1995, he won his first gold medal at the 6th National Wushu Championship in Mizoram and never looked back. In his long drawn out career of over 25 years, Handoo has won 11 gold medals in national championships and six international medals.
“An inspiration and role model to the youngsters, Handoo has come a long way and richly deserved this award,” said sports analyst Sanjeev Sharma.
Under Handoo, India had won two gold medals in world championships and one in World Cup, 28 silver medals and 57 bronze medals in various other tourneys.
He has already been honoured with the prestigious Sher-i-Kashmir Award and Parshuram Award.
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