Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee inspired me to take up martial arts: Radha Bhati

At just 25 years of age, Radha Bhati has become an accomplished taekwondo athlete, winning laurels domestically and around the world. She is now setting her sights on the upcoming 2022 Asian Games and the World Championships in 2023 with the ultimate goal of not just representing India but winning medals at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In this exclusive interview, Radha Bhati speaks about her journey in the sport, representing India internationally, overcoming challenges, importance of mental health, special achievements, future goals and more! 

Q 1) Tell us about your taekwondo journey, how were you introduced to the sport and what made you pursue it professionally?

My taekwondo journey started in 2011 when I went to the stadium just to have a look around. It was during my summer holidays so I wanted to join a sport. I saw martial arts classes at one corner and it grabbed my interest. I used to watch Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies, so I really loved to watch the fight. I then joined martial arts and started training which was a lot of fun, my interest started to increase with every day I trained.

Q 2) You represented India in the Under 46 kg category at the China Open where you won your first international medal. Tell us about your experience at that tournament and how did the success propel you to greater achievements?

That was actually my second medal but the first one on foreign soil. I was a little nervous but there was a lot of excitement as well because I was getting a chance to play outside India. The quarter final match was really interesting as it was decided by a golden point. The points were tied after three rounds and there were only 0.6 seconds left when I got the golden point. The feeling of winning an international medal outside India was amazing. 

Q 3) What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in your career? How did you overcome them?

I think the biggest challenge was travelling because I used to travel from Faridabad to Chhatarpur. By metro it used to take around 3 hours one way and I would often reach home at 12 am which was pretty difficult. My parents would get worried because I’m a girl and they would often ask me to quit which was another challenge I had to deal with.

Also read: 'My ultimate goal is to win gold at the Paralympics'- Mohit Singh

Q 4) How important is mental health in becoming a successful taekwondo athlete and why?

To become a successful taekwondo athlete, mental health becomes an integral part. Even if you have the physical aspect of the game, an athlete needs to have the mental aspect as well. If you are mentally strong you tend to have the capability of achieving a lot of things in taekwondo. 

Q 5) What would you say is your most special achievement in your career and why?

The most special achievement in my career was my first international medal at the India Open. This medal helped my confidence a lot and in turn helped in my performance as well.

Q 6) What are your future goals? How do you plan to achieve them?

If we talk about short term goals, then I want to prepare well for the upcoming international tournaments especially the Asian Games this year and the World Championship next year as I hope to win a medal there. The long term goal is to represent India at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.


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