Indo-Russian Relations
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Russian Hospitality and Discipline Mesmerizes: India’s Gold Medalist at BRICS Games 2024

© SputnikAparna Dahiya, Wushu Golden Medalist
Aparna Dahiya, Wushu Golden Medalist  - Sputnik India, 1920, 21.06.2024
Indian Wushu athlete Aparna Dahiya won a golden medal in the 2024 BRICS Games in Russia's Kazan. In an interview to Sputnik India she said that her only wish was to make her homeland proud.
Aparna Dahiya, an 18-year-old daughter of a farmer, made India proud by clinching the first gold medal for the country in the 2024 BRICS Games in Kazan earlier this week.
On Tuesday, Aparna Dahiya created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to clinch a gold medal in the women's 48kg category in Chinese martial art Wushu Sanda at the 2024 BRICS.
Meanwhile, beyond her sports achievement, Dahiya was left in awe by Russia's hospitality and the discipline Russians maintain not just as professionals but as common citizens.

"I have no hesitation in saying that I fell in love with Russia. Though there were some challenges related to finding vegetarian food, the dedication of the people towards keeping their surroundings clean, their commitment to follow rules, their large-heartedness, and the kind of patriotism they have towards their nation is something which I would never forget," Dahiya told Sputnik India in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

Dahiya's journey to the yellow metal at the 2024 BRICS Games is all the more remarkable, considering Wushu is a traditional Chinese martial art where athletes from Southeast Asian countries have been dominant over the years.
Like every other Indian sports star, Dahiya went to Kazan with a dream of standing on top of the podium, which she stated was a surreal feeling.
© SputnikAparna Dahiya, Wushu Golden Medalist
Aparna Dahiya, Wushu Golden Medalist  - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.06.2024
Aparna Dahiya, Wushu Golden Medalist

"I went to Russia to make India proud. Thankfully, with God's grace, I was able to win the first gold medal of the games for the country. Frankly speaking, there's no better feeling than to listen to the national anthem being played in front of a packed stadium in addition to watching it flutter behind your back during the medal ceremony," Dahiya happily expressed.

However, she revealed that her success in the sport of Wushu wouldn't have been possible without the support of her parents and the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
SAI is an administrative body under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, that provides facilities to athletes, including taking care of their training needs, equipment, and boarding and lodging during overseas competitions.
In the meantime, Dahiya emphasized that she would be forever indebted to the Wushu Association of India because it opted to send her to Kazan in her weight category.
"If the association had not helped me, I wouldn't have participated in Kazan because the officials can only send a handful of athletes in a particular weight category. I am happy that I lived up to their expectations," she added.
The gold medalist also spoke about the sacrifices her father made to see his daughter do so well in the sports world.
© SputnikAparna Dahiya, Wushu golden medalist of the 2024 BRICS Games
Aparna Dahiya, Wushu Golden Medalist of the 2024 BRICS Games - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.06.2024
Aparna Dahiya, Wushu golden medalist of the 2024 BRICS Games
Sharing an anecdote from her life, Dahiya mentioned that her father used to wake up at 4 am and take her to the training center in the Sonipat district of Haryana which was 13 kilometers from her village located on the northwestern border of Delhi.
"I was a 12-year-old kid, who was studying in the seventh grade when Wushu came into my life. But once I fell in love with the sport I never made any excuse. I knew I needed to train hard to earn a name for myself, and for that, I followed a 4 am to 8 pm schedule. Initially, my father traveled with me because I couldn't travel alone," she pointed out.
Speaking about her wishlist for the Indian government, Dahiya requested the authorities to include Wushu in the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG).
The KIYG is the top multi-discipline domestic event in India where athletes from almost all sports participate. But Wushu is yet to become a part of it.
"By allowing us to participate in the Khelo Games, the government would do Wushu a great favor as it would spread the sport to the nook and corners of the country," she concluded.
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