Rodali Barua Eyes World Championship After Asian Taekwondo Success


Assam’s daughter Rodali Barua, bronze recipient in the Kyorugi category of the Asian Championships, aims to participate in the World Championships next year. Becoming a household name in Indian martial arts, the athlete aspires to excel in national and international events.

Rodali’s journey began in the corridors of Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1 in Tezpur, where she trained in Taekwondo as a compulsory extracurricular activity. “I started Taekwondo to have another extracurricular activity as a way to bunk classes,” remarks Rodali. “Well, my advantageous height and talents registered soon enough. I developed them in the heavyweight category as there were fewer participants and a better chance of winning medals.”

Highlighting her junior achievements, Rodali’s pursuit of Taekwondo came to fruition when she clinched a bronze at the 4th Junior Nationals in Pondicherry. It was the first of a string of competitive achievements, as she seamlessly stepped up to secure gold at the National Championships in 2016 under the senior category.

Despite dropping out from the Asian Championship camp in 2016 due to weight challenges, Rodali persisted in her training and qualified for the 2018 Asian Championship in Vietnam. Her triumphant return to competitive Taekwondo was marked by a gold medal win at the 2019 South Asian Games.

“My goal was to prove myself and make sure my weight category wasn’t dropped from international tournaments,” she shares with determination.

Raised in an affluent family of four with no sporting influences, the Barua family has been a constant support in her journey. “My family has been a constant guide always. My father is a tea estate businessman, my mother a housewife, my younger brother is completing his graduation, and my elder sister, a clinical psychologist, is proud of the fact that I have been determined in my choice of sport and excelling at the same time,” shares Rodali.

Explaining her path to engaging in more international participations, she says, “Proving myself in the Asian Championships and other international tournaments has been demanding, yet it has improved my chances of winning the World Championships and bringing home the gold.”

Surendra Bhandari, the only Indian to win a medal in Taekwondo at the Asian Games, has served as an inspiration to Rodali throughout her career. Bhandari’s feat from 2002 continues to be a source of inspiration and a standard for aspiring Taekwondo practitioners in India.

As she reflects on her journey, Rodali stresses the value of financial support and exposure abroad for Indian athletes. “Other country players compete in 10 to 15 international open tournaments annually, earning invaluable experience. We don’t have the same exposure or financial backing despite having comparable skills and methods. We could compete just as well on a global scale if we had greater chances and assistance,” she emphasizes.

Driven by the desire to win an international medal and motivate upcoming Taekwondo practitioners in India, Rodali is training extremely hard in anticipation of the World Championship.

“This is only the beginning,” she asserts. “Since the World Championship offers a greater stage than the Asian Championships, I must put in more effort and win a medal there.”

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