Taekwondo, also known as Tae Kwon Do or Taekwon-Do, is a form of martial arts that originated in Korea. Known to be more than two thousand years old, Taekwondo is considered to be one of the oldest forms of martial arts in the world. The three parts of the word, “Tae”, “Kwon and “Do” means “foot”, “fist” and “discipline” respectively. Thus, the art of Taekwondo involves kicking and punching techniques. In India, Taekwondo was introduced in around 1975 by Master Puran Andrew Gurung, after he returned from Hong Kong. At first he started taking Taekwondo classes in Darjeeling, Sikkim and Kalimpong and later expanded his teachings to not only Kolkata but also to northern, southern and northeastern parts of India.
Many young girls from India aspire to become Tawkwondo Champions and make our country proud. Taekwondo champions, Aruna Singh Tanwar from Haryana and Shahnaz Parveen from Ladakh, have soared high up in the sky and paved the way for many young talents who dream of making India shine. With their extraordinary skills and utmost hard work, the two girls have created history.
Aruna Singh Tanwar is the first ever Taekwondo athlete from India who qualified for Paralympics 2021. Born in Dinod Village, located near Bhiwani, in Haryana, she began practicing Taekwondo at the age of eight. Her father Naresh kumar, a factory driver, and her mother Sonia, a housewife, have been huge pillars of support in Aruna’s life. Even though Aruna suffered from deformity in both hands since birth, she never let it become a stumbling block in the way of her dreams. Her mother, in an interview with The Print, stated, “She never complained about it, rather she practiced harder to overcome the physical barriers and convert them into a tool to be used in the martial art. With her selection for Paralympics, Aruna will now become a role model for many, especially girls who are not given equal opportunity in comparison to boys in India by their parents to showcase their inner talent and get empowered.”
Besides sports, Aruna also speaks up and spreads awareness about women’s safety. In her words, “Martial art is not only a sport. I consider it as a tool for women empowerment. We keep on listening to news about women harassment and rape attempts. I want every girl to learn martial arts and use it as a tool to defend themselves against the bad elements of the society.” (The Times of India)
Aruna won five gold medals at the National Taekwondo Championships. Currently, Aruna Singh Tanwar holds the World Rank 4th in the W-49 kg | K43 | and the World Rank 30th in the W-49 kg | K44 event category of World Para Taekwondo Events. She received the official confirmation, from the Para Taekwondo Association India (PTAI), of getting the bipartite quota for the Tokyo Paralympics which is going to be held from 24th August to 5th September, 2021. “My dream to represent India at Paralympics 2021 has been fulfilled and I am confident to win a medal for my country,” she said.
On the other hand, Shahnaz Parveen, is another inspirational name in Taekwondo. In 2020, the Poomsae Lovers Club China organized the 1st International Poomsae Lover Club Invitational Online Championship where players from twenty-two countries had participated. Three players from the Ladakh Taekwondo Association (LTA) participated in Championship and made India proud. Shahnaz Parveen, the only female player out of the three, became an inspiration for all the upcoming female Taekwondo players by winning the gold medal. Zeeshan Mehdi too received the gold medal and Sonal Chospal bagged the bronze medal.
Both Aruna Singh Tanwar and Shahnaz Parveen are role models for all the young girls of our country who want to achieve their goals. They proved that with determination, dedication and hard work, one can surely overcome all obstacles and turn their dreams into reality.