World honour for karateka

Shihan L. Nageshwar Rao became the first karateka from the state to bag an international honour on Saturday.

The 40-year-old received the 6th Dan Certificate Black Belt from the World Karate Federation, a recognised unit of the International Olympic Committee.

Rao, an employee of Tata Steel sports department, has been actively involved in promoting karate at state and national levels for quite some time now. He expressed happiness over his recent achievement and said the international honour would go a long way in boosting his confidence.

"I am very glad. I will put extra emphasis on honing karate skills of young boys and girls so that they can fetch medals at the Asian and world karate championships," he said.

The veteran, who has toured Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Nepal in the past, has over the years added edge to his skills by training under renowned masters. He is, incidentally, also the first person from the country to have trained under 10-time world champion Atsuko Wakai. Rao acquired new techniques from Wakai during his visit to Osaka (Japan) in 2007.

He has successfully undergone referee training under renowned karateka Kancho Tommy Morris, the residential president of World Karate Federation. The veteran had a stint as a coach and accompanied the Indian team for the 10th Asian Karate Championship in Hong Kong in 2009.

He also serves as the joint secretary of All India Karate Federation and general secretary of Jharkhand State Karate-Do Association.