Call it the Mary Kom effect or the need to protect oneself from assaults, more and more girls in Kolkata are taking to boxing, a sport that is even now considered the domain of the male gender.
Boxing clubs in the city have witnessed a steady enrollment from aspiring fair sex pugilists. Asit Banerjee, president of the Bengal Amateur Boxing Federation, says that college-going girls are now putting on gloves rather than going to a gym.
“The club that I run — South Calcutta Physical Culture Association — has seen a rush of girls and their numbers are growing every month. This is a very positive sign towards boxing,” Banerjee told HT.
Sohag Dutta, a 23-year-old graduate, says that it was Mary Kom who inspired her to take to boxing. “And who knows, maybe I can even think of the sport as a career,” she said, adding, “Though I have started late, Mary Kom is my role model. She is 30 and a mother of two and even at this age she competes in the international arena.
Sanjay Prasad, secretary and coach of the Bhowanipore Boxing Association, said that ever since Mary Kom won at a medal at the Olympics last year, the enquiries started coming. “Now, many of them have enrolled in our club,” he told HT. “Yes, Mary Kom’s success is a factor. She has enthused girls,” said Meherajuddin Ahmed, coach at the Khidderpore School of Physical Culture.
Thirteen-year-old Dipti Singh is training day and night and her aim is to make it to the national level. “If this girl gets a chance, she will definitely make it big,” said coach Ahmed.