People call my journey a miracle, I call it a process – Indian martial artist Chinmay Sharma

We love watching it in movies but martial arts is far from a popular sport in India. A sport just like any other that requires immense dedication, hard work, years of sacrifice and an innate desire for victory, martial arts continues to be largely associated with countries such as Korea, Japan, China to name a few and is rarely covered by the sports news in India.

However, the perception that Indians have not yet ‘arrived’ in martial arts is rapidly changing. Let’s explore the inspirational story of Chinmay Sharma, a 21 year old martial artist from Delhi and his story about overcoming all odds and achieving success in this exclusive interview with SPOGO.

Q 1) How old were you when you started martial arts?

I started my martial arts journey at the age of 5. My elder brother forced me to participate in the sport because he was a martial arts instructor. I was a very aggressive boy in my childhood and he turned my aggression into motivation, which completely changed my life.

Q 2) When did you begin to represent India internationally?

In the last year, with the blessings of God my applications got accepted which means that I can represent India internationally. Thankfully, not just one but 10 applications were approved so I’m sure that in the future I will not just represent India but also win titles for my country.

Q 3) Currently, a Pakistani player is the holder of the title you’re competing for. Are you looking forward to facing him for the title?

Yes, but my focus is to win the title for India, it doesn’t matter if Pakistan, Italy or any other country are the current winners. My aim is to win and I believe that records are meant to be broken.

Q 4) In a cricket crazy country, how difficult is it to become a professional martial artist? What are the difficulties that you faced as a Tang Soo Do (Korean Karate) player?

We all know that India is a country dominated by cricket fans and most people do not aim to be a martial artist. However, I’m representing India for the World Title and since the current title holder is from Pakistan the top brands of our country have given their support to me. From Shiv Naresh, Puma to BodyFirst, everyone is supporting me for the world title. It wasn’t always like this though as I do Tang Soo Do, a form of Korean Karate for which I initially got no sponsorship. I have trained for almost 16 years and won over 50+ medals to get sponsorship and get noticed by the big brands, but I still believe a lot more awareness is needed about this sport. Hopefully I can change that and things get much better in the future.

whatsapp-image-2021-06-25-at-104604-am People call my journey a miracle, I call it a process - Indian martial artist Chinmay Sharma

Q 5) For a martial artist who was unknown to suddenly coming into the limelight, how did this transition take place for you?

I’m not sure, but I think representing India internationally may be the reason that I’m in the limelight now as well as Tang Soo Do as nobody is doing that. I believe the rivalry between India and Pakistan is another reason why I’m getting attention. Martial Arts is an underrated sport, so getting support from Shiv Naresh and Puma, who sent their kit for the world event will always be unforgettable. Last year I became the most endorsed and established Tang Soo Do athlete in India which has boosted my career and there is nothing better than getting support from Indian brands. People call it a miracle, I call it a process.

Q 6) How are you preparing for the year ahead and what is your training regime?

I am preparing like a beast as I have a strict training schedule. I train for 4 hours everyday under the guidance of master Devender Dutt Gaur and Puneet Sharma, two of the most respected teachers in the sport. The training is divided into two hours of weight training and cardio in the morning and two hours of event practice in the evening. My nutrition support is coming from the actor Suniel Shetty’s brand BodyFirst Wellness and my training equipment is provided by Lew Boxing India. I have the best Tang Soo Do teachers, so I have many aspects in my favour and I’m looking to create history for India.

Q 7) Tell us about the injury you sustained in 2017 which meant you could never do Martial Arts again? Do you think your doctor is watching your achievements?

I don’t know whether my doctor is watching but in 2017 my lower back got injured and I was unable to move for a month. My doctor said that I might get lifelong paralysis if I continue martial arts and I may never walk again. However, watching my teammates win medals for India was very difficult for me and I decided to risk it all. That year, I played the SGFI games with a medical belt and achieved my fifth back to back gold medal. I was undefeated in the five times that I played and won a gold medal everytime. Everyone called me a miracle boy and I received a medal from Padmashree Mahabali Satpal Ji Pahalwan.

Q 8) How would you describe your career’s ups and downs? 

It’s a good feeling to be the best but I think it was meant to happen. When I got injured, my life stopped but everything is alright now. Nobody would believe that a boy whose back is broken can go on to become India’s only Tang Soo Do (Korean karate) athlete who is supported by nutrition and equipment partners. It was all meant to be but I remain focused and I only want to make the game, my parents, teachers and India proud.

Q 9) Do you truly believe you can win 10 world titles in one year?

If the lockdown doesn’t happen, I truly believe I can be prepared in 6 months. My training, diet and routine are on track and I have complete confidence in my capabilities, despite the fact that others believe I have announced my ambition too early. I’m not only participating, I believe India will win 10 world titles in one year.

Q 10) Is your aim to announce your presence in martial arts by winning 10 world titles or making the game more popular?

My aim is to show the world that India is not behind other countries in the field of martial arts. Everything that I’m doing is to make our country proud and my motive is to showcase our talent to the world.

Q 11) What is your view about inequality in sports where some are prioritized over others? Does it affect your game?

Yes, it does affect my game because we are hardworking and dedicated sportsmen but don’t always get what we deserve. No game is more or less valuable and the sport doesn’t define players, the players define the sport. If Kapil Dev had not won the World Cup, nobody in India would know about cricket. Similarly, if Mary Kom had not won a medal at the Olympics, nobody would know about boxing. It’s always the player who makes the difference, irrespective of the sport. If you’re giving your 100%, you will succeed and I’m the prime example of that. All the top brands have their eyes on me and the expectations are high about what I will do for India. That’s why I always say, don’t go for the best sport, be the best at any sport and you will succeed.


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