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Cricketer-turned-Judoka wins Gold for the state

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jan 15, 2019, 12:06 am IST
Updated : Jan 15, 2019, 12:06 am IST

Dev, now a student of G.N. Khalsa College, Matunga, often tagged along with his father and went through practice drills in the alternative.

Dev Thapa
 Dev Thapa

Dev Thapa let his genes talk at the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune by bagging gold in the Under-17 boys below-66kg category in under 10 second against Manipur’s Thangiam Abun. The three-time state champion won the biggest medal of his career to give Maharashtra it’s first judo medal at KIYG.

Ironically till four years ago, 17-year-old judoka Dev wanted to be a cricketer. Hailing from a family of judokas – his father Tilak was a former India International and mother Meenu a multiple national champion – Dev’s passion for cricket was miles away from his inherent genes.

“It was his choice. These days kids want to carve a niche of their own; create their own identity,” explains Tilak.

Dev, who was a pace bowler during his school days at J.K Singhania, Thane, always longed to play for India and was stubborn in his desire to do so.

Adds Tilak, “He tried a lot. At one point I felt I should tell him (Dev) that cricket is a pipedream but preferred to hold back.”

Dev, now a student of G.N. Khalsa College, Matunga, often tagged along with his father and went through practice drills in the alternative.

Having seen his son fall short several times, Tilak decided to give Dev a reality check. Recalls the teenager, “Dad told me there’s nothing in cricket and the next thing that I know was that he entered me in a district-level judo tournament.”

The gamble paid off with Dev taking the top spot and what followed was accolades and recognition at school. Importantly, it also gave Dev a much-needed boost in his confidence. And from here it was no stopping for Dev who had it all in his genes.

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