Target Tokyo Olympics? Well, for the martial arts exponent from Nalgonda, Cherupalli Vivek Teja, fresh from his gold and silver medal performances in the Malaysian International Karate Championship, it will be a different kind of challenge as he switches over to boxing, apparently peeved at the lack of recognition for martial arts in India, and more so back home.
And, as part of his endeavour to realise his lifetime dream, Vivek is now training under the mentorship of former SAI boxing coach Emani Chiranjeevi, known for his expertise in scientific coaching in the ring and having had a hand in producing many Indian medallists in the last three decades.
And, 25-year-old Vivek is not so naïve to think Olympics medal is going to be that easy.
“It will be a struggle, but again battling all odds is nothing new for me as I reached this level despite acute hardship coming from a middle-class family from Nalgonda,” he pointed out.
A fitness freak given his admirable skills in seven martial arts and also having a coaching stint under Olympic coach Omar Cisse, Vivek dabbled in taekwondo and also some of the traditional martial arts from Kerala to stay supremely fit and focussed.
For his part, coach Chiranjeevi feels that Vivek has all the qualities a boxer should have and also more importantly an explosive punch which could rattle the best of the opponents.
Clearly, Vivek’s boxing skills will be tested in the State championship this November when he aims to qualify for the Senior Nationals in the light heavy weight category.
But, again, like in the case of many gifted young talent from less popular disciplines, Vivek too is desperate for some support from the State government on a long-term basis to ensure he can coach without a break and also compete in international events in the run-up to the qualification rounds for Tokyo Games.
Interestingly, Vivek also designed some karate techniques which are easy to be practised by women seeking self-protection and also conducted classes for about 12000 of them recently. “I sincerely hope that Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who supported so many achievers in the last three years, will also help me,” signed off the second year MBA Student of Nova College.