VISAKHAPATNAM: The young woman boxers in the city, especially those from poor families, are drawing inspiration from PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar, the Olympic medallists who made India proud at Rio, and are working hard to get a foothold in the tough sport. Some of them have already proved themselves at the national and international tournaments and bagged medals. Now, they are gearing up to represent India in the next Olympics.
Boxing for these girls is not just a ticket to better life but also their passion. 20-year-old S Marthamma, who is practising boxing for the past five years was not interested in the sport initially. She has taken a liking for it after looking at the male boxers in the ring. She wore the gloves in 2010 at a summer coaching camp and after participating in the World Championships in 2011 and 2013, she bagged a silver in 64 kg category in the international tournament 2014 and did not look back since then. Marathamma was the only woman boxer from the city, who participated in the senior pre-Olympic National camp.
Though not selected for the Olympics this time, she didn’t lose hopes and is working harder.”The women who compete at the Olympics make their cities and state famous for the sport. One day, I will make Vizag proud. I want to this city to be known for women boxers,” Marathamma said, brimming with hope.
“I don’t have enough money to get branded shoes and other kits. But, I have the guts and courage. I was disappointed for not being selected in the pre-olympic national camp. But, the girls’ show at Rio gave me a new hope,” she added. Marathamma lost her father during her childhood is now studying degree first year and aims at making her mother, a vegetable vendor, proud.
For 16-year-old G Ramya, another budding pugilist from the city, becoming a boxing champion is the dearest dream. She has been learning boxing for the past three years and has recently won a silver medal at the fifth Nations Cup 2016 held at Serbia. “It was my father’s dream to see me as a boxer. I have seen my uncle returning home with blood marks on his shirt after tough matches and yet I never lost love for this sport,” she said. “Since childhood, we are taught to be tough enough to face any situation. Once, I enter the ring, I have one thing in my mind: To prove myself,” says 17-year-old B Likitha, an intermediate student and a budding boxer who shifted to Vizag a couple of years ago for her training.
15-year-old boxer from the city, G Niharika said: “I am nothing without boxing. It is my identity. And from the proud moments we had at Rio, I am convinced that success is not far away.” A silver medallist in the World Championship 2014 in 60 kg category and gold medallist at Pykka National Boxing Championship held in 2013 under 60 kg category, Niharika is leaving no stone unturned in her preparations for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.