"Chandigarh University has announced the R Tikaram Sports Scholarship for Para-Olympians, and the University would reserve 25 seats for the Para-Athletes."
The 21-year-old daughter of a driver and B.P.Ed student of Chandigarh University Gharuan, Aruna Tanwar, was officially selected to represent India at Paralympics Tokyo 2021. Aruna Tanwar, who hails from village Dinod near Bhiwani, currently ranks world number 4 in the women’s under 49 Taekwondo category and has won the bronze medal at both Asian Para-Taekwondo Championship & World Para-Taekwondo Championship in 2019.
This was stated by Dr R.S Bawa, Pro-Chancellor, Chandigarh University, during a press interaction at Mohali. Aruna’s father, Naresh Tanwar and her coach Ashok Kumar were also present on occasion. Chandigarh University announced the R Tikaram Sports Scholarship worth Rs 1 crore for Para-Olympians from 2021. In addition, 25 seats under the sports category would be reserved for the Para-Athletes eligible for the academic scholarship up to 100%, free hostel accommodation, special diet & training allowances.
While talking to the media, Aruna said, “I started learning the Taekwondo sport at the age of 8, and for the next 8 years, I competed in the normal category. It was during 2017 when I was declared not eligible to compete at International level due to deformity in my both hands after which I shifted to Paralympics category.” Aruna expressed her excitement to participate in Paralympics representing India in Taekwondo as the sport is making its Paralympic debut this year. She is one of the 72 taekwondo players from 37 nations competing in the Paralympics. “After missing my competition in World and Asian qualifier in Jordan due to travel ban because of Pandemic in April 2021, I got frustrated. It was a miracle for me that world Taekwondo and International Paralympic committee gave me a wild card entry to Tokyo 2020 after considering my previous performances at Asian and World Taekwondo championship,” added Aruna Tanwar.
“I got fascinated by the sport of taekwondo as the martial arts is not only a sport, and I consider it as a tool for women empowerment. We keep on listening to news about female harassment and attempt to rape. I want every Indian girl to learn martial arts and use it as a tool for self-protection and defend themselves against the bad elements of the society,” added Aruna Tanwar.
While interacting with the media, Aruna’s father, Naresh Tanwar, said: “As I work as a driver at a chemical factory, it was difficult for me initially to support my daughter. But due to her willpower and eagerness to play the sport, I decided to take loans apart from spending my savings to support Aruna’s dream.” Naresh Tanwar now wants her daughter to win a medal for the country as she has become India’s first-ever Taekwondo athlete to qualify for the Paralympics.
“With her selection for Paralympics, Aruna will now become a role model for many, especially for girls who are not given equal opportunity in comparison to boys in India by their parents to showcase their inner talent and get empowered,” added Dr Bawa. Chandigarh. Para-athletes like Aruna Tanwar by representing India at the highest level of Sports are also making the nation proud of their achievements by bringing laurels for the country, so Chandigarh University has introduced a special sports scholarship named after the famous international para-athlete and Arjun Awardee Ramesh Tikaram, who is also known as the father of para-badminton, popular in India. In addition, Chandigarh University honoured Aruna Tanwar for her selection to Tokyo-2021 by presenting her a laptop which is essential for her practice sessions, along with a professional taekwondo kit during the press interaction ceremony.
Ashok Kumar, Aruna’s trainer and coach of Indian Camp for Para-Athletes, said, “In Tokyo, Aruna will face the challenge from Ukraine, China and Chinese Taipei players, and I am confident that she will win a medal in Tokyo by defeating all of them.” Aruna is currently working very hard to excel in her strength and flexibility for Tokyo Paralympics, which is scheduled to be held from 24 August to 5 September 2021, added Ashok Kumar.