CHENNAI: Boxing has regularly been in the news for the past few months. For most part, it has taken space for all the negative reasons. But when a bunch of schoolgoers took the world by storm in Taipei recently, it was a welcome change. The power-packed performances by the girls have instilled hope among fans and people who follow the sport.
The youngsters returned with an impressive haul of three gold and two silver to finish behind Russia in the championship.
The chief architect behind boxers’ success is coach Shiv Singh, who has watched them closely in the last few years and accompanied them to Taipei. He is proud of his wards. Mandeep Kaur Sandhu (52kg), Sakshi Dhanana (54kg) and Savita Gothra (50kg) had won gold while Soniya Gothra (48kg) and Niharika Gonella (70kg) had settled for silver in the AIBA Women’s Junior World Championships.
“I had full faith in my boxers. It was an amazing feeling. When the national flag was raised and the national anthem was played in the background. It was a proud feeling for all the girls and us. Everybody there appreciated our performance,” Shiv Singh recalled the big moment.
“These young girls outwitted boxing powerhouses like USA, Russia, Ireland, England and Korea. These are the nations who are among medals in the Olympics.” he added.
His idea of encouragement is simple. The Bhopal-based coach, who has helped the likes of Olympic silver medallist Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar, Manoj Kumar during their formative years, said he is not worried about the results and is focused only on helping boxers put forward their best fight. “I have always encouraged them to enjoy their fight. I was not worried about the results. If you concentrate on the results, it will put pressure on their young shoulders. I had just asked them to fight to their abilities. I told them to give their 110 per cent, winning and losing doesn’t matter,” he revealed.
Prior to this event, the youngsters had already showed signs of what was to follow with a winning return – three gold, three silver, two bronze – in Serbia earlier this year. At the time, Shiv Singh had realised the boxers could go on to become world beaters. “We had started a camp in March. We had some time to assess the strengths and weaknesses. We worked on the shortcomings. It was a good build-up.”
Apart from the medals and all the perks attached with it, the biggest return for the young boxers is the change in their attitude.
“After winning, the attitude of the boxers have changed. Now, they know they can give a tough fight. I always had confidence in them as the boxers had put lot of time and effort in training/sparring.”
So what next for the girls? “The result proves that we have huge amount of talent. Now we have to groom them. We have to nurture them in a scientific way. We need more competitions to keep them in the groove. We need more national level competitions, more international exposure trips. We need to be more innovative if we are to help develop these youngsters. Boxers as young as 17 or 18 are already making their presence felt in the Olympics,” the coach signed off.