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A week after creating history at WKF event, Pranay Sharma lifts South Asian title

Sharma enjoyed a terrific season in 2022, starting with a silver medal at the Commonwealth Championships. This went unnoticed due to India's other sporting achievements around the same time.

Pranay Sharma Karate

Pranay Sharma (R) with his gold medal at the South Asian Games (Special Arragement)


Abhijit Nair

Published: 29 Nov 2022 7:32 AM GMT

Pranay Sharma rose to fame last week when he became the first Indian to finish on the podium at the World Karate Federation (WKF) event by winning the gold medal Series A World Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 22-year-old has now carried his winning run forward to the recently concluded South Asian Championships in Colombo, Sri Lanka winning the gold medal in Men's 67kg Kumite.

"There were a lot of eyes on me after the medal in the WKF Series, so naturally there was a lot of pressure. I just wanted to do my best and prove that the WKF performance was not a fluke," Pranay Sharma told The Bridge from Colombo.

This was Sharma's fourth consecutive South Asian Games gold.

Introduced to the sport by his father-cum-coach Bharat Sharma, Pranay has been practicing karate for 11 years at his father's academy in Janakpuri, New Delhi.

"My father has been my mentor and inspiration. In fact, he was my first coach. But, over the last 5 years I have trained under multiple people," Pranay said.

"I have also been travelling to countries like Iran, Turkey, Macau, and others to train and get myself up to the level of the best in the world," he added.

Sharma enjoyed a terrific season in 2022 which started with a silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Championships. This went unnoticed in the media, thanks to India's splendid show at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games and the 2022 Chess Olympiad around the same time.

"I was not in the right headspace mentally during the Commonwealth Championships. I was battling with anxiety, but somehow managed to return with a silver," Sharma said.

"The Commonwealth Championships are quite tough, and it took out a lot from me in Birmingham," he added.

What is astounding is the fact that Pranay Sharma's achievements are not limited to Karate. He was a highly talented track and field athlete and an extraordinary basketball player during his childhood.

Sharma has competed in inter-zonal and national events in 100m, high jump, and triple jump. He was also one of the top six players selected for the NBA India Junior Program in 2016.

"I was good in both athletics and basketball but decided to leave it because I could not find proper support or assistance from anywhere. But, with my father being a karateka himself, it was easier for him to guide me and he realised I had the potential to make it big," he said.

With a highly successful 2022 season nearing its end, Pranay Sharma now has his eyes set on bigger goals.

"The aim now is to maintain my consistency and keep doing well. I have my eyes set on the Asian Championships and the World Championships now, which would eventually propel me to the Asian Games next year," he said.

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