Tokyo Paralympics: Aruna Tanwar becomes India’s first para-taekwondo player to qualify

Aruna Tanwar, the 21-year old girl from Haryana, made history by becoming the first Indian para-taekwondo player to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics.

Tokyo Paralympics
Aruna Tanwar

It is truly a moment for all Indians to rejoice as Aruna Tanwar, India’s first para-taekwondo player qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics. The Tokyo Paralympics which shall take place between August 24 and September 5 has a total of 72 players from 37 countries participating in the para-taekwondo event.

The 21-year old from Haryana almost gave up on her dreams to participate in the Paralympics when a travel ban due to COVID-19 prevented her from participating in the qualifiers.

However, by a stroke of luck, she was one of the eight athletes who were given the bipartite commission invitation by the World Taekwondo and the International Paralympic Committee for the Tokyo Paralympics. This opportunity is given to athletes who have missed a chance to qualify due to extraordinary circumstances.

I’ll try to bag a medal in the Paralympics: Aruna Tanwar

Aruna Tanwar
Aruna Tanwar

As a kid, Tanwar was always keen on playing sports even after her arms and hands were not fully developed. Boxer Paramjeet Samota was her inspiration and she decided to become an athlete after she saw how he was welcomed after winning the gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth games.

While she competed in the general category till 2017, she shifted to Paralympics because international events did not have her weight category. With her selection, she has not only inspired other para-taekwondo players but many female athletes as well.  

After having podium finishes at the Asian and World Para-Taekwondo Championships, she is ranked at World no. 4 in the U-49 category.

Since childhood, I’m a big fan of martial arts. Earlier, I played in the general category but I wasn’t getting much success there. I came to know about para-taekwondo & started playing it,” Aruna told ANI.

“My parents supported me. They accompanied me in every national tournament. Both mother and father believed in me and whatever I’ve achieved till now is because of them. I’ll try to bag a medal in the Paralympics and make them proud,” He added.

After getting a wild-card entry to Tokyo, she is the best bet of India to win a medal in the Paralympics. With her selection, she has not only inspired other para-taekwondo players but many female athletes as well.  

Also Read: ‘It’s always been our dream to play in the Paralympics,’ say Palak Kohli and Parul Parmar