For eight-and-a-half-year-old Manasvi Saluja from Vadodara, the recent black belt in kick boxing is just the beginning of her dream to an Olympian gold. She becomes the youngest in Gujarat to have achieved the feat.
Manasvi took to karate and kick boxing training at the tender age of four, credit for which, is due to her parents. Her doctor father overlooked the means while her mother took charge of being a regular at sessions and workshops. Their efforts paid off and Manasvi soon was a rising name in the district, state and national levels. At the recently concluded Nationals in Siliguri, she bagged the gold in the trials and thus cleared her name as a possible entry to the World Championship.
Currently undergoing prep for the finals to be held in Kolkata from July 19 to July 25, the little girl is confident. Her eyes gleam at the mention of representing the state and country at Wako Children Cadets and Junior World Championship, to be held later this year (September 30 to October 9) in Venice, Italy.
“She is very disciplined. Her winning streak is all because of hard work and regular practice. She is so focussed that we have detract her attention to other interests,” shared Manasvi’s father Dr Inderjeet, adding that she has also taken up Bharatnatyam and robotics.
For her mother, it is important that the child is happy. “While a majority of people run after academics, we want her to be happy. She has the talent for kick-boxing and robotics. We encourage her to do whatever she is interested in,” she shares. Interestingly, Manasvi is not a big one for chocolates or screen-time as is the attitude for kids this age now. Her parents attribute this to sports and the discipline it teaches.
Proud coach Siddharth Bhalegare notes that the girl is “raw talent.” He is confident of a win in the Finals, later this month.
When asked to share her byte, Manasvi states: “I just want to thank my family, coach and teachers for supporting me. If not for the support system around me, it would have been difficult.” As a career choice, she tends to favour becoming an IAS officer.
“After I get time from practicing kick-boxing, robotics and Baratnatyam,” she adds.