Women in the National Capital Region need to seriously think about what the leading women boxers of the country have to say. Many times world champion, MC Mary Kom, and L Sarita Devi can't understand why young girls don't take up boxing if they feel so unsafe in the city?
For the duo, the newly crowned Asian champions in their respective weight category, boxing is more than just a sport. They recollect instances when they had to use their punches to protect themselves from unwanted advances, and firmly believe that women should learn boxing for self-defence.
"I remember when I used to travel from Manipur and it used to take us 2-3 days by train. A lot of boys would think they could act smart with a woman travelling alone. One punch would sort them out," said Sarita, who hails from Thoubal Khunou in Manipur.
The gold-medallist in the 61kg category feels the situation in her hometown is nothing compared to what women go through in Delhi and Haryana — all the more reason why women must learn boxing.
"It's always good to learn a sport, any sport, be it cricket or boxing. Who knows, you might become good at it and represent the country like us," said Sarita.
Five-time world champion Mary Kom also recalls how she had to set a rickshaw-puller straight when he tried to misbehave with her. "I thank god every day that I was a trained boxer when this happened. Had I not been one, I don't know how I would have defended myself," said Mary, who won gold in the 51kg category at the Asian Championships in Mongolia.
"It doesn't have to be boxing, women can learn kung fu, kick boxing or karate. As a player and women, I feel very bad when I hear about harassment and rape in the country. These incidents are on the rise in Delhi and Gurgaon," she said.