She is the only Indian woman to have won a Gold medal in and to hold the title of the Winner of the USA Open Karate Championship (Kumite) and to hold the Commonwealth title consecutively for two years. She is Strong in Arena and Soft in mannerism. She maintains this balance flawlessly. In a candid conversation with Anubha Singhai, Editor,
PHYSIOTIMES, Supriya talks about the ups and downs in her Career, the injuries and her trust in
How did you discover your Interest or Passion for KARATE?
As the word KARATE is made of 2 different words ‘KARA’ and ‘TE’ which means ‘The art of fighting with empty hands. My dad who was Army-person, desperately wanted me to choose a martial arts game, so I choose KARATE.
What was your age at the time you started?
I was 4 or 5 years old. That’s how the muscle memories and patterns are set, hypertrophies are created. These are very important in Sports.
What were the challenges that came in your way? Did they make you stronger?
As KARATE is a martial arts game, it is full of injuries. Whenever I used to go to Arena, I came home with lots of Injuries. Like all parents, my parents also were worried about me getting injured but soon they understood my passion for it and supported me.
As started early, how difficult was it to balance Studies with Sports with so much dedication?
My Coach always told me that ‘aap ko studies main chalna hai, aur Sports main daudna hai.’ So, that’s how I balanced everything.
How has been your Role-model?
My coach Mr. Jaydev Sharma. In Karate, we call our Coach, Sensei. For an athlete, the Coach is always the Role-model because he introduces you to all the techniques and makes you Master of the Game.
Do you believe in trusting your Coach and giving your 100% is the way to Success?
Completely, because Karate is a Sport where you need proper guidance to build the Strength and that your Coach gives.
Tell us about your experience at the Asian Championship, 2018?
In 2018, Asian Championship at Jordan, I was a wonderful experience playing against Iranian players. I won by 8-0 score.
When did you have your first interaction with a Physiotherapist?
Earlier, I used to think that going for a Physiotherapy session will only waste my time, until when there was a time when I couldn’t even walk properly as I suffered from a severe Hamstring strain and grade 2 tear.
At that time, I realised the value of Physiotherapy.
Almost everyone told me that it’s the end of my Karate career, and I also thought, I may not be able to play. At that time, I didn’t have any International Achievement, so it was scary to say good-bye to my career.
That was the time I realised the importance of Physiotherapy, I want every player to understand the importance of Physiotherapy and take it seriously, like we take our Championship, training and Medals.
Physiotherapy is helpful in Preventive as well as Rehabilitation from an Injury. Do you feel the same?
Yes, pre-rehab and post-Rehab. Is very important for a sportsperson.
Which Physio made a remarkable impact in your career and how?
Training at TT Nagar Stadium, Senior Physio Dr. Jince Mathew (PT), helped me a lot during my recovery. Not only in Physical terms, but also improved my Psychology so that I could recover faster and better.
Do you feel Physio is important to be there in Championship tournaments?
Of course, Just like Coach, the team Physio is very much important. Without Physio, we as players can’t imagine results and recovery. Physiotherapist is ready to give on spot treatments, hand to hand treatments, that gives relief and adds to results.
“The Coach prepares us mentally for the upcoming challenge, while The Physio does it physically.”
Which has been your biggest achievement so far?
I have achieved a medal in the three consecutive Commonwealth Karate Championships in Kumite Event. Also, I’m the first Indian to win the US Open Karate Championship in the elite division in 2019.I have won the national championship since 2010 till 2020. For all my achievements, there has been a Physio always.
Tell us about the US Open championship.
It has been 2 years since I participated in any event because of Covid, but because of the muscle memories formed through training and practice, and that helped me a lot to return to arena.
What message do you wish to give to the upcoming Physios?
Simply, I would say for a Sportsperson, a Physio is one of the most important member of the team. Its an amazing and very promising career.