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Budding female boxers in Lucknow’s Malihabad mango belt pack a punch

The budding female boxers come from humble backgrounds. Their parents have allowed them to pursue their passion, thanks to the inspirations they find in Marry Kom or Lovlina Borgohain.

Published: 05th November 2021 02:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th November 2021 08:19 AM   |  A+A-

Boxing

For representational purposes

Express News Service

LUCKNOW:  In the expansive orchards of densely planted mango trees in Malihabad on Lucknow  outskirts, a peculiar sound catches one’s attention. It is the report of punches being rained on the hanging sandbags and covered mango tree trunks.

It’s a bunch of girls in their boxing vests and shorts punching hard. Otherwise known for its Dussehri, the most popular mango variety, the makeshift boxing ‘nursery’ falls in Malihabad.

The budding female boxers come from humble backgrounds. Their parents have allowed them to pursue their passion, thanks to the inspirations they find in Marry Kom or Lovlina Borgohain.

The endeavour has brought out at least 10 district level boxers and one national level under the junior category in recent years.

Apart from taking on the ring for professional achievement, as many as 87 boxers, primarily girls, have learnt to safeguard themselves from assaults.

“The initial intent was to train the girls in boxing so that they could use the skill for self-defence, but it catapulted many into medal winners over the years,” says coach Mohammad Saif Khan.

Impressed with Saif’s intent, the ChildLine unit of Lucknow has joined hands with him and its coordinator Sangeeta Sharma often holds camps in rustic belt to teach teenagers about sexual abuses and ways to raise voice against it.

Saif, once a heavyweight boxer, has played till state level in Uttarakhand. A moving incident around 15 years back forced him to shift focus from mango farming to train girls in self-defence techniques.

He narrates that how a young girl in his neighbourhood was raped and how he found himself helpless in bringing justice to her as her family was reluctant to report the incident fearing social stigma. 

“This made me think how to ‘empower girls’ for self-defence. I then decided to train girls in boxing,” says Saif. One of his students, Kamna Rawat (15), has won two district level gold medals.

Anamika (17) is another boxer who showed the impact of her punches at national level in quarter finals in a championship organized at Nagpur in 2018.

How a Rape incident prompted him 

Saif decided to start teaching boxing to girls after a girl in his neighbourhood was raped and her family didn’t lodge a police complaint, fearing social stigma. 



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