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Packing a punch: Haryana boxer Jyoti wants to be father’s golden girl

Jyoti, 17, has outpunched formidable Ukrainian, Italian and Kazakh opponents to reach the final of the Women’s World Youth Boxing Championships, which is likely to produce India’s crop of boxers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

other sports Updated: Nov 25, 2017 20:01 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Guwahati
World Youth Boxing Championship,Boxing,Jyoti
Indian boxer Jyoti will face Russia’s Ekatirina Molchanova in the final of Women’s World Youth Boxing Championships.(AIBA)

Not every father in Haryana is Mahavir Singh Phogat, the wrestler who inspired a Bollywood blockbuster. No one knows it better than flyweight boxer Jyoti, who must surmount Russia’s Ekatirina Molchanova to become daddy’s golden girl on Sunday.

Jyoti, 17, has outpunched formidable Ukrainian, Italian and Kazakh opponents to reach the final of the Women’s World Youth Boxing Championships here, which is likely to produce India’s crop of boxers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

READ | Two more Indians enter finals in AIBA Women’s Youth World Boxing Championships

But more than sealing a senior team berth and a ticket to Tokyo, Jyoti wants to change her father’s attitude. He is probably the only man back home in Haryana’s Rurki who believes boxing is for boys.

Rurki, a village of some 7,000 people, is 15 km from Rohtak town.

DANCING IN THE RING

Jyoti was into dancing – her coaches say she is good enough to set the stage on fire – but her conservative parents threatened to break her legs. So she lied to pursue boxing, which she loved as much as dancing.

“They did not know I was training to be a boxer until my secret was out in 2012 when I was selected to participate in the state championships,” Jyoti said.

READ | Three Indian boxers enter finals of AIBA World Youth Boxing Championships

She won silver in the 2013 National Games and medals at two international events in Turkey (silver) and Serbia (gold). That didn’t impress her father, though her mother had a change of heart.

CATCHING ‘EM YOUNG

Jyoti hopes to win gold so that her father realises she is not violating her family’s honour by letting her fists talk.

“This (case of Jyoti’s father) is unusual for a state that has been going through a sports boom for five years now. There are at least 30 girls in Rurki village alone who are into contact sports,” Bhaskar Bhatt, the Indian contingent’s head coach, told Hindustan Times.

Such has been the attitude change in Haryana that girls from rural areas, as young as 10 years, are renting houses to be in cities with sports academies and NIS centres, Bhatt said.

READ | AIBA Women’s Youth World Boxing: Four Indians in fray on day 1 of semis

This is evident from the composition of the Indian contingent in the event. Of the 10 boxers, seven are from Haryana, and five are assured of silver medal.

One of them is Sashi Chopra from Hisar, who won gold in an international championship in Bulgaria. Her fauji family had no issues with her decision to become a boxer, but wanted her to take up wrestling.

“I hope I have saved my best for the last,” said Sashi, who faces Vietnam’s Hong Ngoc Do in the featherweight final on Sunday.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 19:54 IST