Darjeeling represented Bengal in the event and in the process managed to get eight of the gold medals and four silver and six bronze out of the total of 9 and 10, respectively. “It is a huge achievement for us.
This is the first time that Bengal has managed to get such haul of gold medals in an event. And I am proud that Darjeeling has played a major role,” said Bikash Chhetri, president of the Darjeeling Amateur Taekwondo Association (DATA), today in press conference in Darjeeling.
The competition which had participants from 24 states was organized by the Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) at Sachewalaya Gymkhana Colabain Mumbai, last month. From Bengal 41 members participated out of which 20 were from the Hills.
In the selection process held in December 2015, from the Hills 18 were selected for the state championship, winning gold. They were then selected for the national championship. “Our effort has paid off with the Hills winning so many gold medals. It is also a big feat that Bengal emerged the team champions in the event,” Chhetri said. Ratan Century, one of the two coaches who helped the students achieve the feat reasoned that availability of proper equipments had played a major role. “One of the main reasons that we feel that the performance of the participants from the hills was good apart from their hard work was that they got to practice with proper equipments which was not the case just a couple of years back. We thank the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) for providing us the equipment worth Rs.2 lakh which includes mats, arm, chin and chest guards and head gears among other things,” he said.
The coach however rued the fact that the individual equipments could not provided as they were few in numbers. Also lack of practice halls hindered the participants. “We had thee equipments but they were small in numbers compared to the participants. We also did not have a practice hall. We had to use the premises of Turnbull school and Gymkhana club,” Century said.
The DATA comprises members from the Northern Taekwondo Academy, Taekwondo Sporting Academy and Himalayan Taekwondo Sports Training Centre which has links with the school along with Gymkhana.
Fifteen year old Iccha Malla, who won a gold medal in the national championship this year said, “It has been five years that I have started learning Taekwondo and have also won a few gold medals in the state championships. But this is the first time that I have won gold in a national championship and it feels good. This time I have learnt that there are many good players and that more practice and hard work is needed if I want to continue winning.”