Unnathi Ravindra, at 10, has five gold medals in taekwondo under her belt
Unnathi Ravindra is a mild-mannered girl, but is entirely transformed when she enters the taekwondo ring. All of 10, she can send any opponent packing. A student of School Vivekananda in Sahakarnagar, Unnathi joined taekwondo classes in 2010 when she was in Class Two. Initially her parents wanted her to take up the sport so that she could keep herself fit, but it eventually proved to be much more than a fitness regimen.
In the same year, she won a gold medal at the zonal level competition, in which children from the four southern States participated. This encouraged her to take the Korean martial art more seriously. Over the last three years Unnathi has won five gold, three silver and two bronze medals at various competitions.
“The first medal gave her confidence and it was also a surprise to all of us at home,” says her mother Archana. She recalls that the first competition, held at Calicut, was traumatic. They missed the train because of heavy rains and the family had to travel by road. “When I won the gold medal, my parents were overjoyed. All the trouble we took had a happy ending,” Unnathi says.
Unnathi has completed seven degrees (blue belt) in taekwondo and she aspires to reach the black-belt level in the next two years. She dreams of becoming the youngest girl to achieve black belt in taekwondo.
She has been practising for an hour six days in a week for the past 18 months. Unnathi takes part in patterns, self defence, individual and group sparring events. A month before every tournament, the practice sessions are doubled. Unnathi says that all these hours spent in practice have not made her academics suffer. On the contrary, the focus and concentration gained at taekwondo practice has helped her do well in her studies as well, she says.
Tough, but loving it
“The training schedule is very tough and it includes both mental and physical training. But, it has not deterred her. Such has been her dedication towards the sport. Through taekwondo, she has found an identity for herself and it has also helped her stay fit and healthy,” Unnathi’s mother adds.