17-year-old Sapna’s journey: From Yoga enthusiast to National Judo champion

Sapna, the rising star in judo, reflects on her passion for medals, dedication through online training during the pandemic, and inspiring her younger brothers to embrace the sport.

Chandigarh’s Sapna, fueled by a childhood obsession for medals, is now realizing her dream as a judoka at the Khelo India Youth Games 2023 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Initiating her journey with yoga, Sapna transitioned to judo five years ago, influenced by friends. Despite the challenges, she clinched her second Khelo India Youth Games gold in the under-40 kg category on Sunday, adding to her collection of 12 medals.

Hailing from a modest background with a welder father and a homemaker mother, Sapna’s parents may not understand her sport, but their support has never wavered. Expressing her medal-focused passion, Sapna recalls her initial interest in yoga at a nearby school before discovering judo through friends.

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Now in Class 12, Sapna’s early days in judo were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the hurdles, she remained dedicated, attending online classes and creating training videos to stay connected with the sport.

Sapna’s success journey began with a gold at the National Cadet Women’s League, and she has since accumulated four more league golds, two Khelo India golds, and numerous silver and bronze medals at national championships.

Financial constraints led to Sapna missing the Commonwealth Cadet Championships in South Africa, but she faced the setback with resilience. The 17-year-old believes her second Khelo India Youth Games gold will pave the way for success in the junior category.

Beyond personal achievements, Sapna takes pride in inspiring her younger brothers to embrace judo. One of them has already secured a silver at the sub-junior nationals in 2023, adding to the family’s sporting legacy.

Sapna’s journey not only cements her name in the sport but serves as a source of inspiration for her siblings, illustrating the transformative power of dedication and passion.

-IANS

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