Meet India’s first Wushu World Champion-Pooja Kadian
New Delhi [India], Oct. 5: 26-year-old Pooja Kadian scripted history as she became the first Indian sportsperson to win a gold medal at the Wushu World Championships on Wednesday. Pooja, an ace Central Reserve Police Force's (CRPF) Wushu champion, finished on top of the podium in the 75 kg women's Sanda Category after defeating Evgeniya Stepanova of Russia in the 14th edition of the World Championships held at Kazan, Russia. She had defeated Egypt's Heba Abdelkader 2-0 in the semifinals en route to the finals. After her return to India, the 26-year-old said that she had practiced extremely hard to win gold for the country. "It was very tough at the World Championships. There was too much pressure on me. But I am happy, I gave my best," Pooja told ANI. "I have been training very hard for this from the last six months. All my coaches trained me really well," she added. Even before, she has shown her field competence in Wushu by bagging a number of medals in both national and international events. While Pooja had won gold in the 12th South Asian Games, she had also bagged silver medals in the World Games 2013 and the World Championship in 2013 and 2015. Besides, she also won gold medals in the National Games in 2014 and 2017. Pooja, who is currently serving as a head constable in the CRPF, revealed that she had struggled a lot in the initial days of her sporting career, especially after she lost her mother at a very young age. "I was only six year old when I lost my mother. After that my father got married again. My maternal grand-mother got me home. After that I took a break from Wushu for three years," Pooja said. "Then in 2007, I started playing again. And from 2008, I have been winning medals for the country. When I went for the World Championships, I was committed to win gold for the country. I had, in India, only decided that I will make sure I win gold," she added. The world champion hopes her feat serves as an inspiration to others and motivates them to take up the sport and bring laurels for the nation. "I am sure that my achievement will inspire others as well to take up the sport and bring laurels for the nation," she insisted. Meanwhile, her coach Rajvir Singh, who himself is a national level Wushu champion, thanked the federation and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for their support and encouragement. "Pooja has proved to everyone that it isn't easy being a world champion. She has worked really hard," Singh said. Wushu is not among the more popular sports in the world. It is a martial art and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. Wushu was developed in China after 1949, in an effort to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts. In contemporary times, Wushu has become an international sport through the International Wushu Federation (IWUF), which holds the World Wushu Championships every two years; the first World Championships were held in 1991 in Beijing and won by Yuan Wen Qing. The two main forms of the sport are Toulu and Sanda. While players are judged on the basis of martial arts patterns and maneuvers and given points based on specific rules in Taoulu; Sanda is a modern form of Chinese boxing.