Home Personality Valena Valentina- The Karate Girl of Odisha

Valena Valentina- The Karate Girl of Odisha

She broke all stereotypes and shackles by being one of the most famous Karateka of not only the state but the entire nation. Though she had been learning karate since a very early age, her transformation began when she trained under J.S Kalaimani.

The daughter of renowned arm wrestler Radha Raman Mohanty, Valena Valentina has brought accolades to Odisha not only on a national platform but internationally as well. She has won a number of gold medals in National Level Karate Championships including medals at the national level of Karate Association of India and also on an international level. She represented India in the Asian Games, where she missed the Bronze medal by a hairbreadth and landed on the fourth position.

Born on 8th July 1988 in the capital city Bhubaneswar, Valentina was first introduced to Karate at the age of 10 and received her black belt in 1999 at the age of 14. She completed her graduation from Rama Devi Women’s college in the year 2008. Being the daughter of a sportsperson, she always received support from her family. Apart from being an arm wrestler, her father also played soccer and had played for the prestigious East Bengal Club. Hence, her passion for sports was inherited from her father and was inculcated since her childhood.

She broke all stereotypes and shackles by being one of the most famous Karateka of not only the state but the entire nation. Though she had been learning karate since a very early age, her transformation began when she trained under J.S Kalaimani, the vice-president of the Karate Association of India (KAI). He is also an expert of the Ryu-shin-kan form of karate, the form which Valena masters in particular. She has also trained under her KAI coach, Sensei Keerthan. She went ahead to win a large number of medals at the national level competition including gold medals at the Karate Association India Championships, held in Chennai in 2019, Goa in 2017, Delhi in 2015 to name a few. She had won a number of gold, silver, and bronze medals at the AIKF National Championships. She won her 10th gold medal at the KAI Senior National Karate Championship held in Chennai. She represented India at the international platform of Asian Games in the year 2010. Not just she and her family, but the entire nation regretted her missing the bronze medal. However the loss didn’t hinder her motivation. After that, she trained extra hard to represent India at the Incheon Games in 2014, but India could not participate in the games that year due to some issues. Not being able to participate in the games despite dedicating herself wholeheartedly to the game and training for it did leave her disappointed, but she came back stronger. She decided to participate and represent India in the 2020 Olympics, where karate had been introduced for the first time. She also won medals internationally, bagging the gold medal at the South Asian Karate Championship held in Colombo in 2017. She also won a gold medal at the South Asian Karate Championship held in Delhi in 2014 and two gold medals at the South Asian Karate Championship held in Delhi in 2011.

She was awarded Rs.1 Lakh by Mahanadi Coalfields Limited on the 28th of August, 2014. She was also felicitated with a cash award of Rs.40,000 jointly by the Odisha Olympic Association and the Odisha Cricket Association for winning two bronze medals in the 33rd National Games in Assam in the year 2007.

Valena remembers her struggles as she started training because karate is an expensive sport. She does not want the young children of her state to face them, hence, she had always wanted to open a school of karate in the capital city of Odisha. In the year 2015, she opened her own school for karate, named ‘V V Karate”. She especially wants more girls to take up sports like these as they will be helpful for them as self-defense and she wants the schools to introduce Karate as a compulsory subject in school for students to learn more about the sport.

She talks about the challenges that she faced coming from a state like Odisha and also the challenges that come to one naturally if they are a woman. In one of her interviews, she talks about how she was stereotyped because she comes from the state of Odisha, which is often associated by people with jungles and tribal communities and when it was believed by them that good sportspersons only belonged to the states of Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Karnataka. She also speaks in her interviews about breaking the shackles of patriarchy, about how women are expected to play certain roles in the society like getting married, raising kids, or taking care of a household and how difficult it was for her to break these boundaries set up by the society. Though women around the world are setting up new records, breaking the glass ceilings, she often talks about her own state from where more women need to come out of their houses and reach for the sky. 

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