23-year-old Chetna Saini just did Haryana proud by winning gold in the district-level boxing championship. What’s makes this more interesting is that she is also a mother of two children, aged 4 and 2. This woman is breaking physical, mental, and social barriers by proving to us that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it.
In an exclusive conversation with The Better India, Chetna speaks about the passion she feels towards boxing, her family, and her way forward.
“I belong to a family of four siblings and my growing up years were spent in Farrukhnagar, in Gurugram.”
“There was a boxing camp that was organised by my coach, Dharamvir Singh, where my father took me when I was in class 9.”
“I remember that the facilities there were very basic, hardly any good infrastructure,” she says.
It was her passion and dedication that carried her through.
Chetna continued boxing until she completed class 12, and within a year of getting enrolled in college, she got married. She was all of 18 then.
One of the assurances that Chetna’s new family gave her was to support her education and her boxing ambitions if she wished to pursue them.
“My husband and in-laws have been extremely supportive. I continued to study even after I got married and soon had two children as well. Just after two months of delivering my son, I was back in college, and that was possible only because of the support that my mother-in-law extended to me,” she says.
Chetna had stopped boxing for some years and got back in touch with the sport by teaching it to girls in a school nearby.
This was the spark that prompted her to think about taking up the sport again. “I was apprehensive about going back to competitive boxing because I had had two children and things were different for me. My coach encouraged me and worked with me to get my stamina and confidence back,” she says.
Chetna had only two months of training before she could participate in the district-level championship, but with intense training and the support of her coach, she managed to win gold.
She speaks fondly about her husband’s grandfather, and says, “His only concern was the bruises I would return home with after my training. He never once said ‘don’t do this’, and that, for me, has been the biggest support and blessing.”
Her two young children also encourage her but often feel sad when she comes home with bruises. She says, “The younger one, who is two-years-old, will ask me if my hurt is because of the boxing.”
Chetna spends close to five hours each day training and is currently preparing for the national-level selections, which are likely to take place in the next two months.
We wish this gritty young woman all the very best as she works hard towards pursuing glory at a global stage.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)