Aruna Tanwar, 21, daughter of a driver and a B.PEd. student at Chandigarh University, Gharuan, has been officially selected to represent India at Paralympics Tokyo 2021.
Aruna Tanwar who hails from Dinod village near Bhiwani currently ranks world number 4 in the women’s under-49 Taekwondo category and has won a bronze medal at both Asian Para Taekwondo Championship and World Para-Taekwondo Championship in 2019, said Dr R.S Bawa, Pro-Chancellor, Chandigarh University during a press interaction at Mohali.
Aruna’s father Naresh Tanwar and her coach Ashok Kumar were also present on the occasion.
The University announced 25 seats under the sports category will be reserved for the Para-Athletes who will be eligible for up to 100 per cent academic scholarship, free hostel accommodation, special diet & training allowances.
“I started learning the Taekwondo sport at the age of 8 and for next 8 years I competed in the normal category. It was during 2017 when I was declared not eligible to compete at International level due to deformity in my both hands after which I shifted to Paralympics category,” said Aruna, while talking to the media.
She is one of the 72 taekwondo players from 37 nations competing in the Paralympics.
“I got fascinated by the sport of taekwondo as the martial arts is not only a sport and I consider it as a tool for women empowerment. We keep on listening to news about female harassment and attempt to rape. I want every Indian girl to learn martial Arts and use it as a tool for self-protection and defend themselves against the bad elements of the society” added Aruna Tanwar.
Aruna’s father Naresh Tanwar while interacting to media said, “As I work as a driver at a chemical factory, it was difficult for me initially to support my daughter. But seeing to her willpower and eagerness to play the sport, I decided to take loans apart from spending my savings to support Aruna’s dream”.
Naresh now wants his daughter to win a medal for the country.
“With her selection for Paralympics, Aruna will now become a role model for many, especially for girls who are not given equal opportunity in comparison to boys in India by their parents to showcase their inner talent and get empowered”, added Dr Bawa.
Aruna’s trainer and coach of Indian Camp for Para-Athletes, Ashok Kumar said, “In Tokyo, Aruna will face challenges from Ukraine, China and Chinese Taipei players and I am confident that she will win a medal in Tokyo by defeating all of them.” The Tokyo Paralympics are scheduled to be held from August 24 to September 5, 2021.