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Maharashtra judoka Tanvin makes a statement with her gold medal

131   //    14 Jan 2019, 13:37 IST

Girls U-21 Below-70kgs gold medallist Tanvin Tamboli (Blue) from Maharashtra in action at Khelo India Youth Games
Girls U-21 Below-70kgs gold medallist Tanvin Tamboli (Blue) from Maharashtra in action at Khelo India Youth Games

Pune, January 14: Pune-based Krida Prabodhini (Sports Academy) judoka Tanvin Tamboli always wanted to break away from the educationist and business family that she was born into.

Encouraged by her father Rafik, the Sangli-born girl rode on her interest in sport to claim the biggest medal of her career – a gold medal in the Under-21 below-70kg category at the Khelo India Youth Games 2019 here.

Tanvin’s best performance prior to the KIYG gold was silver at the School Games Federation of India nationals in New Delhi 2013-14 and bronze in the Youth and Junior Nationals at Jalandhar in 2017.

Her win was also a bold statement. “Many in my own community did not like my taking to sport. There was hardly any encouragement. It was a fight to even participate, leave alone do well.”

Tanvin’s tryst with judo began six years ago, when she was shortlisted after getting through the battery of tests that the state government has adopted to select sportspersons across Maharashtra.

“I was shortlisted in 2011 and a year later allotted judo as the sport to pursue,” explains Tanvin, who hails from Bhudgaon village in Sangli.

Shifting base to Pune, Tanvin says, was a blessing as it took her away from the orthodox atmosphere of her neighbourhood. She now trains under Madhushree Desai in Pune. “I could concentrate. I could dream. I could achieve,” she says.

Born into a middle-class family, Tanvin, the eldest of the three siblings, adds, “I owe all my success to a supportive family.” And with a giggle Tanvin, currently a second-year B.Com student at P Jog College here in Pune, admits that her mother Jasmin, a teacher, is the strict parent. “Mom is the one who always reminds to strike a balance between sport and education in order to be.”

“I love sport and I feel no one should be held back,” she feels.

Tanvin’s gold-medal on home turf is special as it is, but more importantly for her, it is an opportunity to silence her critics and make her family proud.