CHENNAI: With a view to continue the country’s steady rise on the world stage, the Wushu Association of India has begun preparations early for the 14th World Wushu Championships to be held in Kazan, Russia, from September 27 to October 3. The national camp kicked off on May 25 at the SAI Centre in Shilaroo, Himachal Pradesh, and it will conclude on July 5.
The squad for the worlds will contain 40 players, five coaches & one physio. It includes four medallists from the previous edition, held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2015. Y Sanathoi Devi, Pooja Kadian and Uchit Sharma (all silver), and bronze medallist Surya Bhanu Pratap Singh did India proud at the 13th edition and will be targeting an encore this time as well.
“The target this time is to get one gold at least. It’s the biggest event for Wushu players after the Asian Games, so there’s no doubt we want to do well. It’ll also be a good barometer to see where we stand, and how we can improve ahead of the Asian Games next year in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia. We’ve done well at the last few World Championships and World Cups, and we want to continue that,” Rajvir Singh, national coach, told Express.
There will surely be extra attention on Y Jason Singh, the 2016 Junior World Championship gold medallist. He became the first-ever yellow metal winner for the nation in a major tournament, at any age level. And chief national coach Kuldeep Handoo agrees. “There’s a difference between senior and junior levels, and we’re doing our best to help him be prepared. The first phase of the camp will end on July 5, but we’ve asked for an extension. That will happen in either NIS, Patiala or the SAI Centre in Bhopal. What will also help the likes of Jason is a foreign exposure tour, and we’ve also asked the authorities for the same, with the preferred venue being Beijing or Shandong,” the coach said.
Handoo revealed that they had asked for August 1 to 30 dates regarding the exposure tour, but it hasn’t been cleared yet.
Shilaroo has been much-visited in recent times, what with national lifters and the senior women’s hockey team also frequenting the small town in Himachal Pradesh. And Handoo agreed that its high-altitude was a big advantage. ‘We all know that endurance and stamina are a big part of sport nowadays. That’s why so many sportspersons are frequenting Shilaroo, for it’s the perfect place to do high-altitude training. The climate is also good, and such a peaceful atmosphere will only help athletes train without any outside tensions or distractions,” the coach from Jammu & Kashmir concluded.