CHENNAI: She was barely 14 when her father Satbir Maan was shot dead over business rivalry. Eldest among two sisters with her younger sibling a little more than a year old by then, Tulika Maan could hardly extend emotional support needed by mother Amrita Singh at the time of immense grief. Tulika, however, did everything she can as a teenager to ensure her mother, who is a sub-inspector with Delhi police, keeps going despite the tragedy.
She also started practising judo, which she left in absence of proper training and full-time coach, in 2016. A good coach in form of Yashpal Solanki helped the girl to make up for the lost time quickly as she clinched a gold medal in +78kg weight category in the Asian Cup for Cadets and Juniors Judo Championships held in Macau last year.
The 20-year-old added another medal to her tally a few days ago when she won the only medal for the country in the Asian Open held in Taipei on August 3 and 4.
“Seven men and as many women participated from the country in the event. I am happy, I won a bronze for India in my weight category in the event,” Tulika said.
The life, however, hasn’t been easy for the judoka. Like any athlete, her aim is to win a medal for the country in Olympics. Given official apathy and lack of financial support, Tulika has been paying out of pocket to keep her dream alive.
“The Taipei event was sponsored by the government but there are many tournaments where I go on my own. I participated in Budapest and Zagreb Grand Prix last month. The 21-day tour to Hungary and Croatia cost my family around `3.50 lakh. These events are important as I can accumulate ranking points. I am currently 52 in the world rankings and 42 in the Olympic rankings. The more I feature in such events, the brighter my chances will be for Olympics.”
Tulika was dropped from TOP scheme just ahead of the 2018 Asian Games making it difficult for her to arrange funds for international events.
“World Championships is scheduled in Tokyo from August 25 to 31. We haven’t obtained our visas yet. We are practising on our own in absence of national camp. No matter what, I will participate in the event as it will give me a chance to improve my ranking.”