From Odisha to Brazil: The incredible story of Wushu boy Babulu Munda

Barbil: He won his maiden medal in the very first attempt at 16th All Odisha Kick Boxing Championship held in Odisha capital on December 18, 2011. He was six then.

But he never looked back from then to show his innate talent. With regular practice and hard work, he has been selected to participate in 7th World Wushu Championship at Brazil from July 9-16.

Meet Babulu Munda of Sialijoda village under Deojhar Grampanchayat of Keonjhar district. Babulu is now a Class 8 student of Govt. Nodal U.P. School here.

This young talent was spotted in 2011. He received support from one of the big industrial houses for training at Sialijoda Primary School under Pankaj Kumar Mahanta, an Asian Indoor Games kickboxing medalist. Since beginning, Babulu’s enviable knack for martial arts and quick learning attitude impressed the coach. And after a six-month rigorous training, Babulu won the silver medal at the state-level championship.

“On a daily basis I impart training to students at the school. But I was overwhelmed with the impressive accuracy of this boy (Babulu) in my first session with him. Initially, I thought it could be a coincidence. But in my every session he came out with flying colours and consistency,” said Mahanta.

By the time Munda completed his primary education in 2016, he had at least 10 medals (7-Gold, 1-Silver, 4- Bronze) to his credit in just 12 events. Brought up by his grandmother, a daily wage labourer, for this parentless tribal boy, neither poverty nor lack of facilities could ever deter him from achieving success.

Impressed over the masterful performance of Babulu, JSPL Foundation, which has been promoting rural and ethnic sports in the region, extended all out support to him, starting from his admission for higher studies in Urban David School, to training, providing nutritional supplements and facilitating his participation in state and national level championships.

Babulu’s passion for martial arts has earned him 17 medals from 21 events so far at state and national levels- the latest being silver medal in the 17th Sub-Junior Wushu  National Championship held from March 27 to 31 at Jammu & Kashmir this year.

The tribal boy’s stunning performance at the Sub-Junior National Coaching Camp at SAI, Bhopal in May this year confirmed berth for his Brazil tour. Currently, he is training in China.

Babulu, now a well-known figure in the Sub-junior category, has already brought several laurels to the State. Now, he aims to hit the yellow metal for India. “Yes, I will make it Gold for my country”, an elated Babulu said thanking the Foundation for its all-out support.

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