I want to see more girls in kickboxing

Aug 30, 2017

Mysuru girl Pooja Harsha has added another feather to her already illustrious cap by becoming the first woman from South India to qualify as international referee in ring sports. Pooja, incidentally, holds the record for being the first woman from Karnataka to be awarded with black belt second degree in K1 style from the World Association of Kickboxing Organization.

A delighted Pooja, says, “All my efforts have paid off. The journey from being a kickboxer to referee has been phenomenal. Being a referee is going to be a different experience and I hope to leave a mark in the sport in this new profile as well.” Interestingly, Pooja, started her career in karate before shifting to kickboxing. “I was first trained in karate, which had its own limitations, so, I tried my hand at kickboxing, where there is a sea of opportunities. But since I knew karate it became easier for me to master kickboxing. Since my dad, Haridas, is passionate about sports, it was easy for me to follow sport.”

Though, Pooja is a certified referee now, she aspires to continue pursuing kickboxing internationally, her next target being to represent India at the WAKOKickboxing World Championship, to be held in Hungary. “I am confident of winning gold medals at the championship, which will be held later this year. My training is right on track, I hope it works out well for me in the matches. After the World Championship, I will concentrate on being referee,” she adds.

Pooja has also been conducting self-defense programmes, especially for girls, to fight eve teasers. “In recent days, kickboxing has been in great demand because women, irrespective of age, are taking up defense classes to protect themselves. I, however, want them to take up kickboxing as a profession,” she says.