Women are boxing all the way in Delhi University colleges
“People consider boxing as a men’s sport. However, a lot of girls are now participating in the sport. I feel very strong and fearless when I practice boxing. I wish more girls play the sport and prove that boxing rings are no longer the domain of men. Many DU colleges have also started offering the sport to women in the last few years.”Updated: Jun 11, 2019 09:53 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
When in 2010, a 10-year-old Sushmita Rajdeep stepped out of the house with her family to watch a match of boxing during the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, little did she know she was in for a life-changing experience. Seeing boxer Vijender Singh win a gold medal for the country inspired the girl so much that she decided to learn the sport. Nine years down the line, Rajdeep is now studying in Delhi University’s Lakshmibai College on a sports quota seat with boxing as her discipline.
The third-year political science (Hons) student now has her eyes set on representing India in boxing in the future. “People consider boxing as a men’s sport. However, a lot of girls are now participating in the sport. I feel very strong and fearless when I practice boxing. I wish more girls play the sport and prove that boxing rings are no longer the domain of men. Many DU colleges have also started offering the sport to women in the last few years,” she said.
Anil Kalkal, director of DU’s sports council, said that after 2014, representation of women in boxing has increased in the university. “In 2014, when Mary Kom won her first gold medal in the Asian Games, she became an icon among female sportspersons. Since then, more women have been enrolling in sports quota in DU choosing boxing as the discipline. The trend has also made more colleges offer the sport to women especially, in the last three years,” he said.
This year, as many as nine colleges are offering boxing to women seeking enrolment under the sports quota. Out of these colleges, six are colleges for women—Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Indraprastha College for Women, Kalindi College, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Lakshmibai College and Mata Sundri College. Besides these, Deshbandhu College, Dyal Singh College and PGDAV College are also offering seats to women in boxing.
Kalkal said that most women candidates who apply for boxing under the sports quota are from the rural belt of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. “It has become a trend over the years that representation of women from these states is more in boxing,” he said.
Sudha Pandey, director of physical education studies in Kalindi College, said that the participation of DU women students in inter-college and inter-universities has also increased over the years. “Earlier only a few colleges used to participate in women boxing tournaments and there was very less competition. But now around 20 DU colleges have women boxers who participate in these competitions every year,” she said.
Explaining the trend, Sunita Arora, sports in-charge in Lakshmibai College, said that the fact that women are getting “opportunities” to pursue a career in boxing is, in turn, encouraging more and more of them opting it at the school and college level. “Previously, there were very few options for women to pursue power sports such as boxing, wrestling and powerlifting at higher levels like the national and international. But things have changed now. The success stories of sportspersons such as Mary Kom and Pinki Rani have also played a crucial role in encouraging more women to participate in the sport,” she said.
Many women have also opted for boxing after enrolling in the university. For instance, Shrishti Arora, 19, a third-year student at Kalindi College took admission in sports quota choosing handball as her discipline. But, she later switched to boxing. “I would get so fascinated watching girls practise boxing. I was so attracted to the sport, that I went straight to the sports in-charge and requested them to allow me to switch the game. I was allowed to do so and now I am representing my college in various competitions,” she said. Arora had won a bronze medal this year in Delhi Olympic Games, a local competition where various city schools, colleges and academies participate. “I want to represent the country some day,” she added.
First Published: Jun 11, 2019 07:47 IST