Brave teenage village girl G Sushma won a silver medal in the 25th National Karate Championship yesterday, and that too with just one hand, literally. The 14-year-old orange belt, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, lost her final bout 3-4 to Pondicherry’s A Pushpavati in the Kumite U-15 girls category at Shahaji Raje Andheri Sports Complex. But she won many hearts with her determination and fearlessness in the marginal defeat.
Sushma’s right hand had to be amputated after a road accident in 2003, when she was just five. “I was hit by a lorry before it ran over my right hand. I was too young to understand what happened. I do not want my handicap to come in the way of my ambitions,” the class X student told MiD DAY after her valiant display in her maiden Nationals appearance.
Her opponent Pushpavati (15) was also taken aback by Sushma’s courage: “When I saw Sushma without her right hand, I thought that I will win the bout easily. But, kudos to her spirit and confidence, she didn’t let her handicap come in her way. She gave me a tough fight, before going down 3-4. After this bout my respect for her has increased.”
Apart from karate, Sushma excels in athletics. She uses father Venkateshwar’s farm as a race track, and aspires to make a name in athletics as well.
“I was never treated normally as people used to tease me for being handicapped. From that moment I started running (at the age of 7) in my father’s farm in Nellore. I always wanted to earn respect,” said Sushma who idolises sprint king Usain Bolt.
“Whenever I competed, people used to ridicule me. Now when I go back home with a medal, they will feel proud,” said Sushma who won a gold in last year’s 800m at the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) event. “My aim is to win gold in athletics for the country,” she signed off.
Sushma puts more emphasis on her footwork to compensate for her handicap. Her athletics background helps her maximise her speed and stamina. Her athletics coach D Dayakar makes her concentrate on improving her left hand strength.