World Boxing Championships: Sarita Devi seeks world gold against all odds
L Sarita Devi has been a pioneer in women’s boxing in India. Together with MC Mary Kom, she has been the flag-bearer of women’s boxing in India. As the two continue to fight zealously in the ring, they inspire girls to take up the sport.
Sarita is all geared up for the World Boxing Championships here starting November 15. She knows it might be the last time she will be appearing in a world championship and therefore wants to finish on a high in front of the home crowd. She recollects the World Championships in New Delhi in 2006 where she bagged a gold medal and never looked back. It was India’s most successful outing in the competition which culminated in eight medals, including four gold medals.
“It was a great feeling to win a gold medal at home. I would like to repeat my performance. I am in good shape and I know that I may not be playing the next world championships. Age is catching up with me and besides there are family responsibility,” said Sarita, 36.
“I want to have another shot at Olympics and that’s why I am still continuing. The next two years are the most important phase for me and I want to give my all, not have any regrets,” she says.
The competition in women’s boxing has increased since it has been included in Olympics. In the Commonwealth Games, Sarita Devi lost in the quarter-final against Anja Stridsman of Australia. Stridsman won the gold medal beating Murney Paige of England. Both are competing at the world meet and Sarita knows she will have to be at her best.
“Even in India there are so many talented girls who are competing. The National championship that I won this year I had to fight four bouts before I won the gold medal.”
“The competition at world level is very high in my category. Competing against youngsters is not easy. But I have been doing focused training. I did not compete in the Asian Games because coach (Raffaele Bergamasco) wanted me to take a break and focus on the world championship. So, all our preparation this year has been surrounding this big event at home. Now it is time to deliver,” said Sarita, who won silver medal at Indian Open International Championships here this year.
Sarita also runs an academy in her village in Imphal. “Once I retire I will be able to give full time to my academy. I am also not able to give time to family because of training. My son (Tumthil) is around five and sometimes he gets very angry when I go home. He will ask me ‘why are you here, go away.’ That’s a sacrifice you have to pay and I am doing that.”