Karate star Valena Valentina made Odisha proud with her recent participation in World Championship in Germany held in November 2014. Though she had missed the bronze medal in Asian Games in 2010, she bagged gold medal in Womens’ Kate category in South Asian Championship held in New Delhi in 2014. Her participation in national and international events has opened another door for the emerging karate players of the State. She had won many gold medals both in National and International games. Valena graduated in Home Science from Rama Devi Women’s College, Bhubaneswar, in 2008.
“Since childhood I was interested in stunts and the so called ‘boy’s forte kind of activities’. When I used to watch movies, I was carried away by the fighting styles,” reminisces Valena who was focused on her career from the beginning. “I could miss my studies but never compromised on my practice”. Recollecting her college days, she talks about how she did not fit into the girl’s group and used to spend the whole day alone. “When I joined Rama Devi Women’s College, I was subjected to a few stares when I rode a bike. They did not find it comfortable talking to me and my leisure time was lonely without any friends. I used to think my parents had taken a wrong decision of putting me in a Womens’ College,” says Valena who was always comfortable being in a boys group and not interested in ‘girly’ talk. She was also a Kho Kho and Kabaddi player since her school days.
After she joined college, the college team won the inter-college match for the first time, which Valena labels as the proudest moment in college. “Two of my best friends are boys and all others in my Karate class were mostly boys. I have never mingled with any girl other than my sister. So my rapport with boys was always good and comfortable”, laughs Valena. “The college Principal had an objection to my coming in a bike and asked me to ride a scooty like other girls.” An uptight Valena replied, “My parents gave me a bike, if you do not want me to ride that, give me a Scooty to come to college.” She remembers how the same Principal had praised her after she scored the highest points in the Inter-College Kho Kho match. “I attended college for hardly seven days in a month and rest of the time I felt comfortable staying at home as I had no friends. My Home Science lecturer used to chide me every day that I had wasted a seat when I did not have interest in studies. That was quite embarassing,” she says.
Other than sports, she always participated in dance programmes in college annual days. “When the college honoured me as one of the best students till date, I received the award from the Governor of Odisha SC Jamir, my teacher hugged me with pride while I replied that her reprimanding turned out to be a blessing in life,” she says. The Karate star was so focused on her career that she never thought of hanging out with friends. “My best place for recreational activities was karate class, which I never missed out on,” she firstname.lastname@example.org