VISAKHAPATNAM: Vizag-based boxer and coach N Usha, who has been presented the prestigious Dhyan Chand Award on National Sports Day, said she was happy to receive the award and intends to concentrate on training boxers once the virus is gone. She said it was a momentous occasion when she received the award from President of India Ram Nath Kovind in a virtual event from NIC in Hyderabad.
Speaking to TNIE here on Wednesday, she said, “I have finally got due recognition. The Dhyan Chand Award puts more responsibility on me now.” Earlier she narrowly missed the Arjuna Award in 2010 though she was nominated that year. Her dream of being awarded an Olympic medal could not materialise, as she missed 2012 Summer Olympics in London due to a knee injury she suffered during the trials of 2010 World Championship. Now, she wants to realise her dream by training a boxer who can win an Olympic medal for the country. Usha is working in Diesel Loco Shed of Waltair Division, East Coast Railway (ECoR), which is contemplating setting up a boxing academy in the city.
She owes her success in boxing to her family, particularly her father Ramana, who encouraged her to take up boxing. She said her first ring at national level was in 2002 Nationals in Delhi. She said she learnt basics in boxing under coach Sauda at Madhavadhara and later from Dronacharya awardee I Venkateswara Rao. During all this, “my education suffered due to the sport and I somehow managed to complete my graduation”, she said. She did her schooling at Godavari Port School.
“The 2008 Asian Championship is a memorable one for me. Despite a cervical injury, I won the title,” Usha said. She won the semifinals against the world champion from South Korea. She won two silver medals in the World Championship and a gold in the Asian Championship. In her career, she grabbed four gold, five silver and two bronze medals at the international level and nine gold and three bronze medals at the national level. Usha was a six-time senior national champion from 2004-2010. Apart from being a coach for the Indian senior women’s team, she also coaches the Indian Railways women’s team. Her brother Santosh is also a boxer and husband Ganesh a football goalkeeper. They are working in commercial and engineering departments of ECoR, Usha said, signing off.