It was in May 2019, Rahul Jain, a member of the Indian taekwondo team clinched the country’s first-ever medal in the Senior 1 Poomsae event of the World Taekwondo. It took years of grit and determination for Rahul to achieve such a mammoth feat.
Rahul, who was struggling with asthma and obesity, took to Taekwondo sixteen years ago only to boost his low self-confidence. No one could have predicted his meteoric rise with which he became four-time national medallist just at the age of 23. Besides, he has been a regular medal-winner for India be it at the Korea Open or the Chuncheon Open.
A Jackie Chan fanboy, Jain fell in love with martial arts after watching Chan’s movie. However, owing to asthma, he wasn’t allowed to go outside his house in Chembur, Mumbai and therefore, gained weight. However, he convinced his parents of joining a martial arts class named Spirit Taekwondo Academy at the age of eight. Thus began his transformative journey. He made new friends at the academy which helped him fight his self-confidence issues. His coach Robin Menezes was very helpful and trained him to perfection.
After just two years of training, he won his first gold medal in a district-level competition. His training regime helped him overcome asthma. The real confidence boost came in 2007 when he won a National Bronze medal, which made him a valedictorian in his college.
Joining taekwondo was the best decision he ever took, which completely changed his perspective about life. In 2012, Jain was selected in the Indian team to represent the nation at the Asian Junior Taekwondo Championship. He started focusing on his strengths. He would train with the national coach, Abhishek Dubey for hours. He decided whatever be the result, he would train rigorously and prepare hard for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. However, everything didn’t go as per plans. His visa was rejected. The setback, however, didn’t stop him. He carried on with his spirits high and five years down the line, he won his first-ever medal for India at Pyeongchang World Taekwondo Hanmadang.
Also read: The history of Taekwondo in India