Mon, 02 Oct 2023

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], June 1 (ANI): In the first-ever Khelo India University Games (KIUG-2022) held in Uttar Pradesh, wrestler Ishika from Punjab University won the 55 kg weight category gold medal.

Ishika belongs from a wrestling background as her grandfather and great-grandfather were also wrestlers. After winning, she said that some people play sports out of passion and enthusiasm, "but for me, sports is in my blood."Originating from the Sonipat district in Haryana, Ishika presently resides in Delhi and practices wrestling at the Chhatrasal Stadium, known as the nursery of wrestling, apart from Gohana in Haryana. Ishika said, "This was my first Khelo India University Games. I enjoyed playing in Varanasi. The facilities were excellent, and the competition level was quite high. I will continue to participate in such games in the future."Ishika's father, Sandeep, works as an egg wholesaler in Delhi. Her mother is a homemaker, and she has an elder brother who is studying. Talking about how she got into wrestling, Ishika said, "I was 9 years old when I studied at Geetanjali School in Sonipat. I used to stay in a hostel. It was there that I saw wrestling, and my interest sparked. My father wanted me to pursue wrestling as my family holds a long wrestling history."Ishika is a second-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (BA) at Punjab University. Before this, she earlier participated in the Khelo India School Games. Ishika said, "I competed in the Khelo India School Games that took place in Pune. I won a bronze medal in the 46 kg weight category. I have also taken part in the Cadet Nationals that were held in Patna. I took part in it but couldn't win any medal. The Junior National Championship took place in Patna in 2022, where I won a silver medal in the 53 kg weight category. I practice under the guidance of Parveen and Somveer in Gohana. I practised in Gohana for three days and in Delhi for three days."Ishika's dream is to represent our nation in the Olympics. She wants to prepare herself fully and try her luck for it. Ishika said, "My dream is to play in the Olympics for India. My immediate goal is to qualify for it. I am working hard towards it. I practice for four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening."Sandeep Kumar, Ishika's father, also travelled with her to Varanasi for the Khelo India University Games. He was pleased with the arrangements made there. Sandeep said that he wanted someone in his family to pursue wrestling. Since his son wasn't interested, he introduced his daughter to the sport.

Sandeep said, "I am fond of wrestling. I wished for someone from my family to pursue the sport. My grandfather and father were both wrestlers. They used to participate in wrestling matches. For some reason, I couldn't become a wrestler myself, so I wanted Ishika to try the sport. I enrolled Ishika in wrestling from the fifth grade. She used to go to Bhiwani for practice. Her interest grew in this sport. When she reached the ninth grade, she won a gold medal at the 2018 National Championship that took place at Geetanjali School in Sonipat."Talking about the Khelo India University Games, Sandeep said, "The arrangements made in Varanasi were great for all the athletes. There was a separate arrangement for girls. Only girls were staying in the hotel. The environment was quite safe, and the food was good too. I saw that the other athletes were also very happy. Khelo India is very good for the future of the country's aspiring athletes."(ANI)

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