Jaismine boxing with higher purpose, one punch at a time

Bhiwani pugilist edging closer to her pursuit of encouraging more women in her circle to take up sports with her notable performances inside the ring
Boxer Jaismine Lamboria recently won an Olympic quota for India in the 57kg category
Boxer Jaismine Lamboria recently won an Olympic quota for India in the 57kg category(Photo | BFI)

CHENNAI: Sports has been a constant in Jaismine Lamboria’s family. Former champion boxer Hawa Singh was related to her. Her grandfather was a wrestler. Her uncles were into boxing. Her hometown, Bhiwani, has a rich history when it comes to producing champion sportspersons.

And yet, Jaismine is the first woman from the Lamboria family who, after much convincing in her family, was handed the license to express herself in the field of sport.

It was quite a responsibility for Jaismine, who has had natural inclination towards sports. After being encouraged by her uncles, she took up boxing not so long ago. Now, she has an opportunity to lift not just the women in her family and her community but many (aspiring men and women) all over the world.

Jaismine fought with real purpose in the recent 2nd World Qualification Tournament in Bangkok to get a step closer to her and her family’s dreams. It’s clear this latest outcome means the world to her and her family and her latest progress has solidified their belief.

“My family put massive faith in me with a thought process that women should also be given a chance to progress. My uncle had entrusted me with that thought process. After the quota, he called and said I did whatever he had expected of me. He also said that now you have created a pathway for other women in and around our circle to dream big,” she told this daily.

“He’s just happy that whatever we had dreamt, the goal that we had set, I was able to achieve the same,” she added.

After a step in the right direction, she is naturally eager to go higher in the days to come. Her family, who are naturally upbeat, said as much to her. “They were really delighted. They were quite emotional as well. They were like ‘now you shouldn’t stop here, you should try and secure your main goal’.”

Jaismine is now in a happy place but that was not the case until recently. Despite her undeniable talent, Jaismine, who is a southpaw, was staring at uncertainty after suffering a first-round defeat in the 1st World Qualifying event in Busto Arsizio (Italy) in March.

Moreover, that was her second attempt to qualify for the Olympics. Just when it seemed like she needed to course-correct and wait for her chance, fate smiled on her. After quota winner Parveen Hooda was suspended for whereabouts failure, she was entrusted the responsibility to regain the quota by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) just a few days before the qualifying event.

Pressure was bound to be there for the 22-year-old but she rose to the occasion.

“India had high expectations of me. I was also carrying high hopes, my dream was to go there and put my best foot forward. I have achieved one step now. Now, going forward, I want to do well.”

Not only was that a last-minute call, she also had to shift from 60kg to 57kg. Ask any pro athlete, cutting weight is not easy. But Jaismine said that it was a smooth process.

“I had to control my diet too but it was nothing drastic. If I were consuming two, three rotis (breads), I was having one and instead relying on a liquid diet. It was not like I was starving myself. The BFI nutritionist had planned a diet chart for me. I was kind of prepared and in the end, everything went quite well,” the 2022 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist recalled.

Apart from weight cutting, she also didn't have much time to study her potential rivals (at the elite level where the margins are small, that could make a huge difference). Focussing on one bout at a time proved to be the perfect strategy. Eventually, a victory against Mali's Marine Camara confirmed her trip to Paris.

"I was just focussing on one bout at a time. After the announcement of the draw, I was looking at my immediate opponent. A day or so ahead of every fight, the coaches/video team would study their game and give me all the data required. We would devise a strategy accordingly. They would suggest the kind of punches I should employ (based on the opponent's style) if required. It was a relaxed atmosphere, I felt no pressure at all."

Back in the country, she is expected to return to camp in a few days. With the Paris Olympics just 48 days or so away, she is intent on solidifying her game as she chases her dreams.

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