In the potpourri of sports world, there emerge rare characters of determination and pursuit of excellence. To add more feathers to his cap, close on the heels of his winning the Elbe Cup at Hamburg, Bhaskar has lifted the Helsinki Open Gold Medal three weeks back, thus adding to his overflowing kitty.
In a grand tournament held at the Saarvastonkaari, bustling with participants from 23 countries adding up to a staggering 600 athletes, it was inspiring to see Bhaskar sail through the rounds to hit the top spot on the podium. "As 2020 gets close, I can feel the level of competitive Karate going up. It is important to be in peak form and constantly fill the gaps," says Bhaskar holding his Medal.
Bhaskar becomes the first Indian to be on the podium in the prestigious Helsinki Karate Open which was organized by Seitokai Karate under the aegis of the Finnish Karate Federation, which is considered as the biggest tournament in the Nordic Region. "The size and scale of the tournament here in Helsinki is unprecedented in the Nordic region. Ex-World Champions and Current European Games Medalists are in the fray, adding to the star power", says Bhaskar.
The win at Helsinki and at the Elbe-Cup in Hamburg last month brings Bhaskar closer to securing an Olympic berth for the nation, having been supported by six different World Federation referees. "Each win is a step towards Tokyo 2020, in fact, each match and the points you score, all matter a great deal. The Salzburg qualifiers in March this year was a significant stepping stone along with the training camp in Belgium." Bhaskar adds.
Bhaskar has been shouldering national responsibilities since 2009 when he stepped into the International arena -- he is a three-time Commonwealth medalist along with two-time US Open Champion along with many more inspiring wins to his credit. His remarkable performance was again on display this year, when Team UPB, Germany was named within the 'Top 10' in Heidelberg.
Bhaskar's journey to Tokyo 2020 inspires the young athletes to strive towards excellence. So what comes next for the champion, Bhaskar says," Each season, each tournament and each match requires my hundred percent. The intensive training sessions at Palermo coming up will benefit me a great deal, for the next ones."