Fractured rib, damaged knee not a problem for Tulika Maan at National Games
That Tulika Maan won the gold medal at the National Games despite carrying severe injuries speaks volumes about the level of competition in Judo.
Gandhinagar: Tulika Maan seemed to be in some discomfort throughout Friday even as she coasted to the National Games gold medal in women's +78kg judo. The Delhi girl just did not seem to be at her explosive best at the Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Centre here.
"Actually, I have a fractured rib, and my MCL, ACL, and meniscus in the knee have been damaged. Doctors said there is some fluid collected in my knee and I need to undergo a surgery for the same. It was a bit difficult to play," a limping Tulika told The Bridge minutes before going for a dope test.
While this speaks volumes about the level of competition in the sport in India, Maan remained as humble as ever.
"The competition was good. These guys are the best from where they come. They have done their best in state competitions and are the best in their weight categories. So, the competition was tough," she said.
Tulika Maan said she decided to compete despite the injuries because of the absence of world-class competitions in India.
"I have not seen many such tournaments in India. I knew the environment here would be electrifying and that is what tempted me to come down to compete. The last time the National Games were held was in 2015. We don't know when it will be held next. I just wanted to experience this atmosphere as this will help me in future international competitions," she chuckled.
Maan – a silver medallist from the 2022 Commonwealth Games, believes her life has changed since that historic day in Birmingham.
"It has been different since I returned from the Commonwealth Games. Now people at times recognise me. So when I am walking down the street, they come to me and ask if I am Tulika Maan and say keep performing well," she said.
Change in weight class
Maan, who took up judo just to ensure that she would not have to stay alone at home while her mother went to work, is now looking to switch her weight class.
"I will now work towards reducing my weight a bit in order to change my weight class," she said.
"My weight is pretty less for above 78kg. When you have to face opponents who are 135-140kg while you are just 87kg, it becomes a bit difficult. So, I want to reduce my weight to compete in -78kg," she added.
The 24-year-old MA student now has her eyes set on the Asian Games next year.
"The next target for me is the World University Games and the Asian Games next year. But, before that, I need to rehabilitate from these injuries and bring down my weight," said Tulika Maan.