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Sushma Awasthi inspires young judokas to qualify for Asian Championship

Judo coach Sushma Awasthi played a big part in Vishal Yadav and Preeti qualify for the Asian Junior Judo Championships

other sports Updated: Jul 12, 2017 10:51 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Sushma Awasthi,Vishal Yadav,Preeti
Sushma Awasthi (centre) with junior judokas Vishal Yadav and Preeti .(HT Photo)

Coach Sushma Awasthi was more worried than her trainees Vishal Yadav and Preeti for their selection in the Indian squad for the Asian Junior Judo Championships as getting success in trials, especially after changing their weight categories, was a difficult task.

Varanasi’s Vishal and Saharanpur’s Preeti, currently training at the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) centre couldn’t make the cut to the Indian squad and that too while struggling with their weight categories.

The two kept eating little and lost stamina to challenge the rivals during trials due to which a place in the Indian squad remained elusive to them. However, an experienced Sushma took it as a challenge and inspired these two to make the cut.

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“It was a big challenge for me but I did not lose my confidence. I was more confident about their selections in the team instead of both the judokas who were a bit apprehensive,” Sushma told HT on Tuesday.

The coach, who joined the SAI centre in 2004, has produced five-six judokas of international standard and will be accompanying the Indian team as chief coach at the 11th Asian Cadet and 18th Asian Junior Judo Championships, beginning on Wednesday in Kyrgyzstan.

Vishal, who joined the SAI centre only in 2012-13, and had a silver medal in the 50 kg category at the nationals in 2015, would be playing in his maiden international event but in -60 kg category as he was unable to cope up with his growing weight in 55 kg category.

“He (Vishal) was amazing at the trials as I was working on his weight for the last five months. I am happy he didn’t disappoint me,” said Sushma, who also holds the honour of producing two internationals during her posting at the KD Singh ‘Babu’ stadium in the past.

“It’s an energy sapping sport, where you need a lot of good food and stamina enhancing ingredients. Once Vishal started consuming those things, he improved his weight and successfully adopted the new weight category,” she added.

Sushma, who aims at producing an Olympian in future, admitted that similar was the case with Preeti, who after winning a bronze medal at the Asian Championship, failed to make a podium finish in 2014 while fighting in -40 category. But the moment Sushma started working on Preeti’s weight (-44 kg), the results were positive and she was selected in the Indian squad.

One of her trainees Ajeet Awasthi won a gold at the Asian Championship in 2014 in 40 kg category but she finds the fifth place finish of her another trainee Vijay Kumar Yadav at the Senior Asian Championship this year, as her best achievement so far. “Even the fifth place finish is a big achievement for Indian judo and I am sure that one day the man would make podium finish at the Olympics.”

Terming Japan and Korea as strong contenders at the Kyrgyzstan championship, Sushma claimed that all 16 Indians, including eight girls, are determined to give their best, and she is also hopeful of some medals from them.