VADODARA: Amidst the soaring popularity of cricket, football and other sporting activities, a couple from the city is quietly promoting a unique form of martial arts. Babloo Sawant and his wife Sonal Sawant have been setting up camps on Wushu in villages of Vadodara and Anand under their NGO ‘Vikas Sport and Charitable Trust’.
“There is an abundance of talent in Gujarat. Although Wushu is relatively unknown compared to other forms of martial arts, we have been getting great response from the children and their families in the villages where we have been training,” said Babloo Sawant.
In 2014, the couple trained 25 children from a school in Sejakuva in Padra taluka in Wushu. Out of four students, one won a gold medal, another silver medal in the state-level Wushu championship under-17 held in Bhavangar in August. In the under-19 championship held in October last year, two children won gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
“While Babloo takes care of the training activities, I counsel families, teachers and authorities. Parents are mostly apprehensive to send their girls for the sport, but once they start showing results through trophies and certificates they encourage them,” said Sonal.
According to the couple, Wushu, which is based on kicks, punches and throws, requires participants to be trained under a specialized environment with the right equipment. However, owing to the lack of funds, the couple has been training children in the open air.
“We could easily break three world records in a year if we focus on villages. However, talent gets discouraged due to lack of funds. Finance is crucial as training and diet requires most of the investment,” said Babloo, who learned Wushu after being inspired by Hollywood stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li.