With our nation basking on the golden glory at the Olympics, fellow Indians have yet another news to cheer for.
Delhi’s own Bhaskar now lives in Germany and juggles his study routine and Olympic training schedule. “The Nippon Budokan is huge. I have always dreamt of this moment! Standing in front of this arena, it is surreal!“, says Bhaskar smiling and looking at the Arena.
The recently concluded Olympics featured five additional sports this year: Baseball/Softball, sport climbing, surfing, skateboarding, and Karate. Karate fans throughout the globe rejoiced when they heard the news back in 2016.
The world body for Karate claims there to be 50 million practitioners throughout the world. This is an enormous number when compared to even the most popular sports in the world. “This is the first time Karate is in the Olympics“, says Bhaskar, Karate has been making nomination pitches to the Olympic committee since the last 3 Olympics, finally in Tokyo, Karate became an Olympic sport
The Olympic Karate Event spanned for 3 days and there were moments filled with emotion and joy in the massive Nippon Budokan which can accommodate 14,471 viewers at a time. Various attendees from around the world gathered to showcase their skills at the biggest sporting event in the world.
Bhaskar being the only Indian to win consecutive US Open titles and 3- Commonwealth titles, speaking to us said, “I feel I can represent the various others who could not be here, at this moment. We arrived three days prior, the arrangement is fantastic! Considering all the logistical and administrative hiccups, I am glad I made it here“, says Bhaskar. “Karate will surely be back in LA2028, we will again aim for the top spot“, Being the only person of Indian origin to be present here in Nippon Budokan, he feels Karate will surely make a comeback in LA2028.
“The Olympic gold is the target, that is what everyone here aims for, but there is only one spot!“, Bhaskar’s call for Tokyo came after the Paris OQOEWarm Up tournament this year. He is the only Indian to reach this stage. Bhaskar’s road to Tokyo was filled with tournaments featuring the bests in the world, including an unprecedented win in December last year. “The German University Championships were difficult last year, but we made it to the top spot“, says Bhaskar, where he competed against Germany’s best clubs sending their top medal prospects.
The DHM was organized under the aegis of the German Olympic Association and Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building, and Community, which is regarded as the best preparation stage before the Olympics tournament by former champions in Europe.
Back-to-back wins at Helsinki and Heidelberg’s Elbe Cup meant Bhaskar’s Olympic berth was just around the corner, where he was supported in his straight wins by six different World Referees. The Salzburg Open saw Bhaskar finish 16th in his group, making him gain substantial Olympic Points.
“I started competing at the world stage in 2009, I have never looked back, I always want to give my best on the tatami, I want to aim for my best. I know if I give my 100%, I will be on the podium.”, Bhaskar’s journey started in 2009 when he competed at Youth World Cup(Rank-6).
During the National University Championships at Baden-Württemberg last year, Bhaskar’s performance single-handedly led the UPB contingent to 9th place, the best finish for the team in the last 5 years. “The journey to Tokyo has been fulfilling“, recalls Bhaskar, being the first Karate athlete of Indian Origin in Olympics 2020.