Kavitha Sanil remembers the time she first got acquainted with karate. It was when she was in class 5, and saw some children practicing the martial art early one morning. She lived with her family in Marakada in Mangaluru, and says that she jumped up and down at the sight of those children. She urged her mother to allow her to join the class.
Kavitha is the incumbent mayor of Mangaluru, a post she has held from March this year. The 36-year-old two-time councilor is also a black belt in Indian and Budokan karate forms. Having won many accolades at the state as well as national level, Kavitha has now decided to re-enter competitive karate after a nine-year-hiatus.
“It is a bit nerve wracking, but I am looking forward to it,” Kavitha tells TNM. “The last time I competed was in 2008, when I was 2.5 months pregnant. I won a gold then,” she adds.
Kavitha says that she has 58 gold medals and 18 silver medals to her credit. She has also won each national championship between 1992 and 2008. She quit for a while after this, given her pregnancy which was followed by a cesarean surgery, but now she’s eager to reclaim her passion for karate.
“My official duties do take up most of my time. But I have started training every day for two hours from 5am. Every Sunday, I also go to karate classes to get back in touch with the sport,” she says.
Kavitha missed practising karate but doesn’t really regret giving it up for almost a decade. A mother to two daughters, the youngest being a little over a year old, she says that it was important to get her strength back before she began training again.
Kavitha says that she would earlier enter each competition with a desire to win. Has that changed now?
Kavitha laughs and says, “I guess so. This time, I just want to participate and get back in the game. We’ll see how it goes from there.”
Kavitha will participate in an all Indian open karate championship which will be held in Mangaluru in November.