With the whole of India immersed in the Cricket World Cup frenzy, we tend to overlook a couple of lesser known sports stars who have been excelling in other sports. Bhaskar Sen brought home another laurel for India in Karate, by winning the Winners Cup at Elbe-Cup International last month in Hamburg, Germany.
"There were over 400 competitors, many of whom have been my friends since ages. I had my eyes on the title since long, it was really an unforgettable experience" said Bhaskar, who became the first Indian to feature on the podium in the prestigious Elbe-Cup, which is organised by Hamburg Karate Association (German Karate Federation).
The win in Elbe-Cup conditions him for the next big events and brings up his claims to Olympic berth for the nation significantly. Additionally, his performance at the Salzburg Open in Austria this year was technically appreciated with a personal best, though he was placed 16th in his group, in the face of stiff competition from Japanese athletes. "The Olympic points I score will greatly value for the next tournament since it all adds up" he says.
Bhaskar gaining these Olympic points and winning in Hamburg means he is on course to become the first Indian Karate athlete to represent India in Tokyo. His journey to Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been a smooth one, constantly bettering his previous one, already having attended the 2nd qualifiers in Austria on March this year, and intensive training in Belgium under five time World Champion Junior Lefevre, this year as well."I will be attending major qualifiers and intensive training for a number of sessions and at various places, though the next ones being in Santiago, Chile and Palermo, Italy" said Bhaskar.
Bhaskar is no stranger to facing tough international competition, having represented India at the international level since 2009 at major events such as the World Championships, Youth World Cup, Premier Leagues and the Commonwealth series. "Building experience and learning from failures has certainly been a big part of my journey", Bhasker adds.
Being a three-time Commonwealth medalist and a two-time US Champion from 2015 and 2016, apart from the sixth rank at the Youth World Cup, Bhaskar has substantial experience and expertise to his name.
In April this year, he led the Team UPB, Germany, to ninth place, topping in his event to place his team within the 'Top 10' among 170 teams fighting for the top spot, at the National University Championships in Heidelberg, Germany.
If upcoming athletes such as Bhaskar Sen across widely popular sports are supported and trained, India is sure to shine bright in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Undoubtedly, Bhaskar's story inspires many young athletes of his generation, who dream for the Olympic gold.