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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Jagatsinghpur: Martial arts and mentorship programmes are helping break gender barriers and changing mindsets in rural Odisha like nothing else.

In a bid to empower women with shielding techniques, a female judoka from Jagatsinghpur is imparting judo training to the slum girls of Paradip in the district.

As many as 38 girls from Bauriapalanda and Balijhara villages are learning different techniques of self-defence under the tutelage of Lopamudra Pati, the secretary of Jagatsinghpur Judo Association, and her team.

No sooner the day breaks, Gopabandhu Stadium in the town comes alive with the training cry of these budding judokas. Learning the martial art absolutely free, these girls say that it has given them a new identity and confidence to speak up and challenge the world.

“The primary objective of the training programme is to enable one to defend themselves amid the rising rate of crimes against women,” said Lopamudra, who is a renowned coach of judo.

“My students have won medals in various State and National Level competitions. I want to provide my expertise to the girls of rural area and empower them in the art of self-defence,” she said.

The self-defence training aims to equip girls with basic self-defence techniques in one of the martial art forms of judo.

“Generally women are vulnerable when they step outside their home. The training of self-defence will make them strong and confident both physically and mentally,” said another trainer Swarnalata Swain.

Lopamudra and her team also aim to extend their training to other rural pockets of the district. However, lack of financing is holding them back.

“We request the government and some corporate sectors to come forward with their helping hands to help us provide self-defence training to more and more rural girls,” the dogged coach said.

“Besides self-defence training, we also want to spot talents in the martial art from the rural area and nurture them. It will be the best way to prepare talents for various national and international level competitions,” she signed off saying.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)

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