India lone judoka Garima confident of good show

New Delhi: Going by statistics, it will be very difficult for India`s lone judoka Garima Chaudhary to even end up with a top-five finish leave alone a medal at the London Olympics.

But in contact sports, there are times when lesser known individuals have punched above their weight to spring surprises and the 22-year-old Meerut girl will try to do the same in the 63kg weight category.

Not many people, even the die-hard partisan Indian fans in London, would like to put their money on someone who is world No 88 but Davids beating the proverbial Goliaths of the game always makes for intriguing stories.

"It is a dream come true for me but it doesn`t stop here. My aim is to return home with an Olympic medal. The 24 judokas competing in my weight are more or less of the same calibre. In recent months, I defeated some of the top judokas from Belarus and Australia in the World Cup and they will all be there in London," says Garima.

Garima earned her qualification after finishing seventh at the Asian Judo Championship in Tashkent. She logged home 34 points from various international competitions and broke through the qualification barrier.

She may not have set the international stage on fire but she did enough to earn points at the World Cup in Warsaw and the World Championship in Paris which ensured a smooth passage to London for her.

What is instantly likable about Garima is the confidence she exudes without sounding brash even for a moment. "For me, the Olympics is just another sporting event and I am not gripped by any fear or excitement. I have studied the videos of all my opponents and I know exactly what I should do when I face them. There is absolutely no pressure. But yes, I am excited that I will be India`s lone judoka there," she said.

Garima has certainly gained in experience having competed in various international events over the years. "I have learnt the art of waiting to attack my opponents rather than being aggressive from the word `go`."

Judo Federation of India secretary general Mukesh Kumar feels that London can surely be the stepping stone for the talented woman to achieve greater heights in coming days. "She is a good medal prospect for the country at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in Incheon (Korea) in 2014," says Kumar.

Indian fans would certainly hope that the affable judoka surprises one and all with a good performance in London.