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Son of cooks, Shankar wins gold in Eng

Fencer has come a long way from practising in ripped shoe soles to winning int'l medals 

Bhopal: MP Martial Arts Academy’s Shankar Pandey bagged a gold medal in epee team event of Junior Commonwealth Fencing Championship held in England on Tuesday. This makes him the first fencer from Madhya Pradesh to win a gold in this championship.

The 17-year-old, along with his brother Vasu, started practising fencing in ripped shoe soles only four years ago. However, Vasu left the sport, midway. For a year, Shankar was a day-boarder at the academy, but soon became a boarder.

His father Laxman Pandey is a cook at an MLA’s residence while his mother is a cook at a doctor’s house. Laxman encouraged his son to dream big.

“I knew that he had the potential to do something great so my wife and I worked hard to finance some of his championships to boost his confidence,’ he said.

Shankar met with an accident soon after joining the academy when a sword pierced his jacket in a practice match. He received five stitches as a result and wasn’t able to play for the next 15 days.

His sister Indira Pandey said, “Our parents were quite frightened and told him to quit the game but the coaches assured us all about his safety.”

Shankar’s achievements

  1. Participated in Asian Junior & cadet championship, Dubai.
  2. Won Silver in 25th Junior National Fencing Championship.
  3. Won a silver and a bronze in Cadet National Fencing Championship.
  4. Won bronze in 3rd Youth Fencing Championship.
  5. Won bronze in Sub-Junior Fencing Championship.

Punched above his weight

  • ‘Despite being a cadet fencer of under-17 age category, Shankar was selected in the under-20 category, and defeated fencers who were older than him,’ his coach Bhupendra Singh said.

India defeat Wales in final

  • The Indian team registered a 45-33 victory against Wales in the final after defeating Scotland and Australia in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.
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