Performing taekwondo at the age of 7 years may not be uncommon, but learning the martial art barely months before participating in a tournament in the UK and going on to win the trophy in the under-12 category is no mean achievement.
Tylden Raposo, who hails from Goa Velha, won the first prize (special technique) at the Lion's Taekwondo Schools Independent (LTSI) IXX South East Opens tournament in London on March 5, drawing widespread appreciation from far and wide.
“Tylden's story is an inspiration to everyone, especially young aspiring taekwondo practitioners from Goa, who might be interested in taking up Taekwondo. His success shows that it is never too late to start learning a new skill. With dedication and commitment, anything is possible,” said his father, Hilbert Raposo.
The LTSI Taekwondo tournament was especially challenging, as it was open to fighters of all ages and belt levels. Tylden made it to the finals, where he faced off against a much older and more experienced opponent.
“Tylden's victory is even more impressive because he only started learning Taekwondo a few months ago. His interest in a martial art was sparked after watching a Taekwondo tournament on TV,” said Hilbert.
“When Tylden saw athletes performing complicated kicks and jumps, he was fascinated and wanted to try them himself. Tylden started taking classes at the local Rayners Lane Taekwondo Academy trained by chief instructor Stuart Anslow (6th-degree black belt in Taekwondo), quickly picked up the basics and began to develop his own style. His natural talent and hard work paid off when he won the championship trophy.”
Incidentally, Hilbert and his wife, Trupti Akhadkar, were focussed on ensuring that Tylden maintained a good balance between school and taekwondo.
“As parents, we are very organised and have a lot of patience to get Tylden to balance school and taekwondo. I start by sitting down with Tylden and writing out a realistic weekly schedule for him,” said Hilbert.
“I make sure to include time for homework, time for taekwondo, and time for him to relax. I also make sure to be flexible, because sometimes things come up that we didn't plan for. For example, if he has a test coming up, I might let him miss a taekwondo class so he can focus on studying. Overall, being patient, staying involved and communicating is important.”
Asked to provide details on his routine schedule and if he practised long hours, Trupti said his routine schedule is very busy on training days.
“Tylden wakes up at 7.30 am, and he is usually in bed by 9 at night. It's impossible to say how many hours a day he practises, as it varies depending on his schedule. However, it's safe to say that he usually practises for 6 hours a week, sometimes more, sometimes less.”
“When Tylden has a performance/grading coming up, he'll often practise for long hours to make sure he's prepared. But he still practises regularly to keep his skills sharp.”
To a query on whether Tylden has taken interest in any other sport and activity, Trupti replied: “He's a big fan of football, he's always enjoyed watching and playing. He's also interested in other sports like running and won second place at the annual school sports and also practises swimming. We are also encouraging him to play the guitar (once a week).”
Trupti said they have supported Tylden by always being his number one fan, encouraging him to do what he loves and to have fun with it.
“We travel to all his practices, games and competitions to show our support. Taekwondo is a sport that requires great focus, discipline, and determination, we make sure he gets to practise as much as possible and we help him find the right equipment as it is important for safety and performance. Whilst helping him maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle,” she said.
Asked what would be their message to other parents of children pursuing sports, Hilbert said: “Our message to other parents would be to do the same; be your kids’ biggest cheerleader and never give up on them.”
“Sports can teach children important life skills such as teamwork, communication, and leadership, so it is important that we encourage our children to participate in sports.”
“Pursuing a passion for sports can also lead to great opportunities and experiences later in life. Seeing our son succeed in something he is so passionate about brings us so much joy, and we know it would do the same for other families.”
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)