India’s Praveen Kumar became the first Indian male to win a gold medal at Wushu World Championship in Shanghai, China on Wednesday, October 23.
Wushu is mainly Chinese Kung Fu with the addition of punches, kicks, jumps, sweeps, and throws. The 22-year-old Rohtak resident initially started off as a boxer. But favouritism in boxing forced the then 15-year-old Praveen to leave boxing and enter Wushu in 2013.
Praveen Kumar won the gold at the international event by beating Russel Diaz of Philippines in the 48kg category. Kumar vanquished his opponent 2-1 in the men’s sanda event (wushu’s full contact format) of the 15th World Wushu Championships.
What a proud moment for India! Congratulations Praveen Kumar for becoming India's first-ever Men's World Champion in #Wushu by securing Gold Medal in the 48kg category at the #WushuWorldChampionships in Shanghai. pic.twitter.com/mIhlYYF7rz
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) October 23, 2019
“Today my opponent Russel Diaz was sending flying kicks like a windmill. But I punched him hard. I took out all the frustration I had because of boxing” said Praveen after emerging victorious to The Indian Express.
In the semi-final, Praveen defeated Uzbekistan’s Khasan Ikromov 2-0 on October 22 to face Diaz at the semi-final.
On the very day, India’s Yumnam Santhi Devi bagged the silver medal after she lost the final against Yueyao LI in the Yueyao LI in the women’s 52 kg. This is her fourth championship medal.
Congratulations #SanathoiDeviYunman wins silver in the Women's 52KG #Wushu category at The 15th #WorldWushuChampionships in Shanghai.#KheloIndia @KirenRijiju @RijijuOffice @dgsai @IndiaSports @wushuindia_in @ddsportschannel @PIB_India @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/GtOcMMnuD4
— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) October 23, 2019
The Arjuna awardee, who is a native of Manipur, won a bronze medal at the Incheon Asian Games 2014. She won three consecutive silver medals at the world championships that were held in Turkey (2011), Malaysia (2013), and Jakarta (2015).
Two years back in 2017, Pooja Kadian became the first Indian to become world champion in Wushu after defeating Evgeniya Stepanova of Russia in the women’s 75 kg sanda event.