TIRUPATI: This 14-year-old Tirupati boy has become the first from South India to win a gold medal in Commonwealth Karate Championship. Karthik Reddy Arabandi was part of the Indian karate team in the 10th edition of the mega event held at Birmingham in the UK from September 7 to 12. He struck gold in the Kumite event under-16 and 70 kg categories.
The Indian team, consisting of 104 members, won three gold, six silver and 14 bronze medals. Karthik Reddy’s performance was appreciated by Indian national team chief coach Keerthan Kondru. The 14-year-old was born and brought up in Tirupati. He began his Karate journey during the formative years he spent in his hometown and started professional training after he moved to Hyderabad under Indian Karate team coach Keerthan Kondru when he was in Class 6.
“Moving to Hyderabad from Tirupati helped me evolve as a professional karate player under the guidance of coach Keerthan Kondru,” Karthik Reddy said.“I have faced participants from Cyprus, Scotland and South Africa in my final, semi-final and opening games. All of my opponents had early exposure and had won multiple medals in various competitions. I was short of confidence, but I held my nerves and stuck to my coaching basics to win the final match,” Karthik Reddy explained.
Besides winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Karate Championships, Karthik Reddy also bagged a gold in the US Open Championship held in Los Angeles. After winning the trophy, he met Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy along with his family members and Sports Minister RK Roja.
“The CM sir congratulated me and announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for my achievements,” Karthik said. “Now, I want to win a medal in the World Karate Championship to be held in Turkey in October,” Karthik said on a confident note.
“My first aim is to be a part of the Indian Karate team for the 2028 Olympics and win a gold medal for the country. To achieve my dream, my coach is planning to send me to Malaysia to undergo rigorous training,” the young Karate champion said.