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Let’s perform friends and make our toil count- Kavita Chahal

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Kavita Chahal is currently world no. 2 in 85 kg category of women boxing. She along with MC Marykom has given Indian Boxing the days, which can make any nation proud. Right from her entry to the boxing ring, she has been a role model to girls who want to pursue career in sports. An Arjuna Awardee in 2012, Kavita talks about career, facilities, Indian Boxing & how the sport can be promoted to masses. Interview excerpts:

Start in Boxing…

I used to play Kabaddi during my childhood. It was my first sport. My father, Mr. Bhup Singh was a boxer and I used to be curious why there were no women boxer in India. I was inspired with my father’s national & international performances. Then gradually I switched to Women Boxing and it all started.

Indian women sports…

Yes and that’s encouraging. Still we have villages where people think that girls are behind boys in some aspects, but then these performances changes the perception altogether.

Women’s boxing in Olympic Games…

Yes, after Marykom won some vital events, only then did the authority think that these girls can compete in this sport. Women boxing was then included in Olympic Games. It has all been a consistent try by all fellow women boxers.

Favorite performance…

There was a tie against a Turk girl, it was a hard fought game and finally I won a point & hence the game.

Struggles, if you can share.

Initially, when I started, I used to be the only girl from the village into this sport. This used to be concern but the family & well-wishers backed me. Also, given the recognition the male sportsperson attract, women sports in India is somehow not attracting same encouragement.

Coaching standards in India…

The coaching standards in India have not been at par with the international standards. Recently, I went for the World Police & Fire Games and the facilities there is up that level, simply incomparable to Indian standards.

Tips to upcoming boxers…

First they have to target the state championships, keep their diet in check, maintain a healthy level of training and win matches at state, then go to nationals to have a repeat or betterment of performances. And then is the international platform which is to be taken with consistent performances.

Attributes of a top boxer…

Disciplined Diet routine, facilities, dedication & determinations supported by adequate training, perseverance to fight till the last is something that will take a boxer to places.

Boxing then and now…

When I started, we had nothing in terms of facilities, none to play against/with. With performances like Marykom and me, gradually this scene is changing, and I see more girls taking up this sport as career choice. Only in my village, we have 8 girls who are doing boxing. (See more from Boxing here)

Facilities in India…

Honestly speaking, facilities in India are not up that level to support the girls. First you have to fight mindset of people who think that girls can’t go places and then when you are up there with your performances, there are hardly some people to receive you, encourage you. Media is also neglecting the performances which could help the sport as well as us, players.

On one hand, we have more than one SAI hostels for boys in most of the towns near my village, we hardly have a hostel for girls. This should be changed soon if we are projecting as a nation which supports women in sports.

Indian sports other than men’s cricket don’t get proper coverage…

I agree. We, at other sports, win world championships medals and stay unrecognized for such headlines whereas a cricketer receives accolades from everyone despite not performing that well. It is media running after cricket, especially the popular, male version. We’ll have to fight hard to get the other sports in limelight and there will come a time when all sports would be treated fair by masses and media both. Here, I am thankful to all those who have supported me all through my career.

Women sports & boxing promotion…

There should be tournaments at junior levels of the promotion type that this event is happening for all the girls and girls from all over the state or country can participate in the event. Such steps will gradually bring the women sports into limelight. And then consistent performances will create connect with masses.

Upcoming championships…

My next challenge is to keep myself ready for the World Championship Boxing and I’m trying to keep my diet in check as well as maintaining a regime to keep me prepared for the event. At home, it is more a concern as otherwise you see other sportsperson maintaining a regime and get determined.

Message to fans & fellow boxers…

Let’s perform friends and make our toil count. Supporters are there for our performances and they deserve more medals through us.