Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Keonjhar lad Babula Munda has not only made Odisha proud, but he certainly became an inspiration for many in the country after winning a silver medal at the 7th World Wushu Championship held at Brazil.

Thirteen-year-old Babulu, a resident of Sialijoda village under Deojhar Grampanchayat of Keonjhar, earned a place in the National team after winning a silver medal in the 17th Sub-Junior Wushu National Championship held from 27th to 31st March, 2018 at Jammu & Kashmir while his Brazil berth was confirmed after his stunning performance at the Sub-Junior National Coaching Camp at SAI, Bhopal in May this year.

At Brazil, he finished up as a runner-up during the championship that was held over a period of eight days; i.e. from July 9 to July 16, 2018.

Soon after he returned, the happiness of Sialijoda villagers knew no bound as they organised a grand welcome and also held a procession to welcome the silver medalist.

A special programme was also organised in Govt. Nodal U.P. School (Babulu’s School) in Barbil to felicitate him.

Babulu said, “I defeated Peru in the quarter finals and the next tie was with Iran in the semi-finals. After defeating Iran in the semis, I entered finals. I consider my coach Pankaj Kumar Mahanta as my mother and father both.

“God has rewarded him for his dedication and hard work. He cleared each and every level with ease. During his training in China before the championship at Brazil, he impressed everyone with his excellent skills. He has made everyone proud,” said his coach, Pankaj Mahanta, an Asian Indoor Games Kickboxing Medalist.

At the age of 6, Babulu won his maiden medal (Silver) in the very first attempt at 16th All Odisha Kick Boxing Championship held in Bhubaneswar on 18th December 2011.

After being spotted by JSPL Foundation in 2011, Babulu was supported for training at Sialijoda Primary School under Coach Pankaj Mahanta.

Since the beginning, Munda’s enviable knack for martial arts and quick learning attitude had impressed the Coach. And after a six-month rigorous training, Babulu won the Silver medal at the State level championship.

By the time Munda completed his Primary education in 2016, he had at least 10 medals (7-Gold, 1-Silver, 4- Bronze) to his credit in just 12 events. Brought up by his grandmother, a daily wage labourer, for this parentless tribal boy, neither poverty nor lack of facilities could ever deter him from achieving success.

Impressed over the masterful performance of Babulu, JSPL Foundation, which has been promoting rural and ethnic sports in the region, extended all out support to him, starting from his admission for higher studies in Urban David School, to training, providing nutritional supplements and facilitating his participation in State and National level Championships.

Babulu’s passion for martial arts has earned him 18 medals from 22 events so far at State, National and International levels- the latest being Silver medal in the World Wushu Championships in Brazil.