POLIO @ karate champ


Srinivas competed with normal people in 40 tournaments held at different levels and won 36 medals

Moment of pride:Keta Srinivas, the physically-challenged karate champion, with a host of medals and shields.—Photo: A.V.G. Prasad

Moment of pride:Keta Srinivas, the physically-challenged karate champion, with a host of medals and shields.—Photo: A.V.G. Prasad

When everybody in his village had doubts on his ability to stand and walk on his own, Keta Srinivas, 31, with a crippled leg defied his disability to make strides in karate. His story is a saga of grit and determination wherein he went on to create an envious place for himself in the field of martial arts.

He earned a black belt in karate in five years and won a gold medal in an international event held in Mumbai in 2003. He has even become a master in martial arts for a number of people in and around his village of Chagallu in West Godavari district by establishing training institutes at five different places

Parents worried

Srinivas became a victim of polio when he was nine months old. Even as children of his age were sprinting and playing merrily, his parents were worried over his future. He was yearning to prove the cynics wrong and found karate as a medium to show this. When approached, a karate master told him on his face that he could not take up martial arts with a ‘lame’ limb. His life, however, took a turning turn when he met another trainer, G.V. Ramana, at Nidadavole.

“When I did knuckle push-ups for 30 minutes non-stop in front of the trainer, I was declared fit for admission to the training,” recalls Srinivas. Karate now became his passion. In the process, his formal education took a backseat which earned him the wrath from his father. “My father had even once burnt my karate dress. All this failed to discourage me, but strengthened my resolve,” he said.

Self-defence techniques

Srinivas competed with normal people in 40 tournaments held at different levels — from national and international levels — and won 36 medals. He trained 450 girls studying in different schools and colleges in self-defence techniques in the wake of the sensational gang-rape in Delhi.

Winning the grand master title as the first physically-challenged person in the world to do so is his life’s ambition. Srinivas likes ‘risk demos’ like breaking 300-kg ice blocks which he did on 50 different occasions. He feels sorry over the poor patronisation of karate from the government and civil society. Non-inclusion of karate in the Olympics on a par with the other martial arts like boxing and judo is a case in point, he adds.

Srinivas competed with normal people in 40 tournaments held at different levels and won 36 medals

 

 

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