India’s Wushu World Championships medal winners Praveen, Yumnam Sanathoi Devi, Poonam Khatri and Vikrant Baliyan were on Thursday felicitated by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju here.
India had won four medals — a gold, two silver and a bronze — in the World Championships held in Shanghai, China, last month.
Praveen, who had won a gold, was handed a cheque of Rs 20 lakh, Sanathoi and Poonam got Rs 14 lakh each for the silver they won and Vikrant received Rs 8 lakh for winning a bronze.
Debutant Praveen made history for India by becoming the first wushu player to win a gold in the men’s event. He did so in the 48kg Sanda category, defeating Philippines’ Russel Diaz 2-1.
An Armyman, Praveen said it was his sheer determination that made him bring home the coveted gold medal.
“My Army coaches and mentors gave me the belief by motivating me and telling me constantly ‘you can do it’, right before the tournament,” the 22-year-old said.
“That gave me some confidence and every night as I lay down to sleep, I thought to myself that I can probably do it (win gold). Then I started working hard and during the camp 2 months back, I made up my mind that ‘I need to bring home a gold medal if I have to bring a medal,” added the silver medalist in the 2016 Asian Championships.
Yumnam Sanathoi Devi clinched the silver in women’s 52 kg Sanda and it was her fourth medal in the Wushu World Championships. She had won medals earlier in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
Poonam Khatri of Haryana also bagged a silver in women’s 75 kg Sanda and the win is all the more special as it is her first World Championship medal after becoming a mother.
Vikrant Baliyan, meanwhile, won a bronze in men’s 60 kg Sanda.
Speaking on the occasion, Rijiju said, “I am very happy that four players have clinched medals from the Worlds. I praise the wushu federation for their good work.
“I have the belief that with the kind of performance they are putting up, wushu athletes will bring home medals in 2024 Olympics.”
He added that the government was looking to create better infrastructure for the sport.