Taekwondo player Rupa Bayor has won medals in two out of the three international competitions she participated in, recently. Early this year, she also became the first female Indian athlete to win any medal at a G2 event of World Taekwondo (WT).
It is not easy to rise up from a small village and become an international champion. But that is the story of Rupa Bayor. Rupa was born in Sippi, a small village in Arunachal Pradesh. A village where girls are married off before they turn 18. And Rupa’s father had passed away when she was young and her mother, who was not highly educated, struggled to raise her. Her uncle introduced Rupa to Karate, and later Taekwondo, as it had more opportunities. And Rupa’s mother always supported her and wanted a better life for her child.
Her mother insisted that Rupa move to the city, to train better, and Rupa moved to the capital Itanagar, and from then on there was no looking back. Her first tournament was at The National School Games in Pune. Although Rupa lost the tournament, she acquired the experience and exposure, which helped her to become a stronger player.
Her first international tournament was the Kim Un Yong Cup in South Korea, where she lost due to her lack of experience on the international circuit. She then competed in the South Asian Games that year, where she won a silver medal. Because of the pandemic, she was unable to play for two years.
In February 2021, Rupa relocated to Mumbai to improve her performance at the Indo Korean Taekwondo Academy. Relentlessly, she trained six days a week for 12 hours a day.
This led Rupa to win the bronze medal in the female senior 1 Poomsae event at the 8th Croatia Open International Taekwondo Championships in Zagreb earlier this year, becoming the first female Indian athlete to win any medal at a G2 event of World Taekwondo (WT).
Rupa is currently training at Nerul, Navi Mumbai. Later in her life, she aims to go back to her village Sippi and train the young girls there in Taekwondo.
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