Image: Twitter/ @MajorPoonia, Republicworld
Thirteen-year-old Tajamul Islam from Kashmir’s Bandipora district made India proud once again as she clinched a gold medal in the under-14 category of the World Kickboxing Championship held in Cairo Egypt. She defeated Argentina’s Lalina in the finals and became the world kickboxing champion for a second time after her win in 2016. Tajamul Islam spoke to Republic's Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami after her win and shed light on how she balanced his academics and practice sessions ahead of the world championship.
The interview was the second one between them - Tajamul had memorably visited the Republic Newsroom in 2018 and dazzled audiences & co-panelists alike with her infectious energy and positivity. The #ProudToBeIndian broadcast on Republic Day that year had culminated with Tajamul leading all present into an on-air selfie session, and memories of this were still clearly on everyone's minds.
On October 30, Tajamul Islam spoke to Republic's Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami, who asked her about the struggles and hard work behind her success. She narrated what her typical day looked like as she was preparing for the Kickboxing Championship and also had to tend to her academics. She shed light on how she managed to attend online classes, do her homework and also work hard in her training sessions. She said with a smile on her face -
"You know for us little children, waking up early is close to impossible. But I had to wake up early, freshen up and head to practice. When I wrapped up my session I would attend online classes and then resume practising again, after which I would then get down to doing my homework. It's been tough and different."
She also went on to compare how the lockdown due to the global pandemic had an impact on her training. She mentioned that in the pre-pandemic era, she would go to the club and practice and would get input from partners and her coach. However, the lockdown left her confined to her home and garden, but the 13-year-old's dream to represent India kept her going through it all. Translated to English she explained -
"When you're in the club, you have your partner and coach, but during the lockdown, things were very different. Usually, you would receive guidance regarding your mistakes and skills, but I had to practice at home or in the garden, which was very tough. I had to work very hard, but I did not lose hope because I wanted to represent India."
During her interview, Tajamul Islam also reminisced about the time she visited the Republic newsroom on Republic Day in 2018. She also expressed her wish to win an Olympic Gold medal for India and walked the viewers through her training process with her friend Jahnvi. The two-time world kickboxing champion also mentioned that she would like to become an Orthopedic surgeon.