CHENNAI: Three girls from a government school in Madhavaram have won gold medals in the World Muay Thai championships held in Indonesia recently. The martial art, introduced as one of the extracurricular activities in the school to bring down dropout rate, has yielded good results.
Sixteen-year-olds Nibha Kumari and P Revathy and 13-year-old T Tamil of Chennai Girls Higher Secondary School in Madhavaram defeated their competitors from Indonesia and Nepal to bring laurels to their school.
The trio, who started training in Muay Thai a couple of years ago, have fought in two tournaments held abroad and many in India. The martial art, as they claim, has instilled a sense of confidence in them.
“I was fascinated by this combat sport after watching it on social media. When they introduced Muay Thai training in our school, I was in 6th standard and was so keen to take up the sport. In the first tournament, I was frightened about getting punched in the face. Now I am greatly confident,” said Tamil, who is in 8th standard now.
Nibha Kumari, originally from Bihar, has been in Chennai for the past 16 years. A 12th standard bio-maths students, she was impressed by the stunts shown on television and took up Muay Thai. “Apart from the medals I win, it has given a boost to my confidence. This reflects in my academics too,” she said.
Revathy, who is in the commerce stream in 12th standard, has also fought in Thailand and has won medals. “The practice has instilled a sense of discipline in us. It has eliminated nervousness completely and the international exposure has improved my soft skills. We train hard after school hours,” she said.
Naveen Kumar and Lokesh from Indian Muay Thai Organisation have been training more than 20 children from the school for free. “There were more than 34 participants from India alone. These children fought with great confidence,” said Naveen.
S Selva Kumari, the school headmaster, said that after introducing extracurricular activities like Muay Thai, dance etc., dropping out of school has reduced in classes from 6th to 10th. “The children are keenly interested in learning such arts. A former student of the school who trained in Muay Thai secured a college seat under sports quota,” she said.