20-year-old Tracy Darlong’s dream has always been to win gold for India in boxing. Earlier this week, she made her dream come true yet again by winning gold in the 55 kg category, beating her rival from Sri Lanka.
A resident of 82 Mile, a far-off town in the Kanchancherra territory of Dhalai area, almost 140 km from Tripura’s capital Agartala, Tracy did not have an easy life.
She lost her father a year ago which led to a financial strain on the family. It was her mother, Biakveli Darlong, who took it upon herself to support and educate her daughter.
Recalling Tracy’s childhood, Biakveli told The Indian Express how keen she was on various sports. Kabaddi, volleyball, and football were the games that she often played. It was kickboxing coach Pinaki Chakraborty who first spotted Tracy when she was in class 9.
Speaking to the publication, Bikaveli said, “Pinaki sir visited our home and asked me to promote Tracy’s interest in sports. He told us she would be a very good fighter. But I refused to let her go to Kolkata for a tournament in 2013 due to financial problems. She got another offer in 2014 to contest in Bangalore, and I agreed. My daughter won a gold medal at the very first go.”
As an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) in her village, Bikaveli earns a fixed monthly salary of Rs 1,000 and some incentives if she can get pregnant mothers to agree to visit government hospitals for their deliveries. On an average, she doesn’t earn more than Rs 2,000 each month.
So dire was their financial condition that Bikaveli was forced to mortgage her gold to be able to send Tracy to Chandigarh for the national tournament in August.
According to the publication, Tracy says, “My mother sold her jewels to help me get here and participate in the international tournament. Not everybody gets such a chance. I got it due to my mother.”
Despite these struggles, Tracy continues undeterred. She has won five gold medals so far: the WAKO India Junior National Kickboxing Championship, 15th National Muay Thai Championship in 2014, the WAKO India Senior National Kickboxing Championship, the National Amateur Muay Thai Championship in 2016, and the recent one from second National Savate Championship held in Chandigarh. She also won silver at the India Independence Cup International Karate Championship in 2016.
Having clinched the gold in Chandigarh during the second National Sevate Championship, Tracy had the chance to participate in the Boxe Francaise Savate Championship as well.
Without taking away from her ability, credit must also be given to the sacrifices that her mother has made to be able to support her dreams.
Tracy Darlong has done the country and her mother proud. Here’s hoping that the sports ministry and the state authorities extend all the help that this young girl deserves to win more accolades for the country.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)