Here’s an inspiring tale and something to ponder over this weekend when all you are looking for is some motivation to get up and move.
Pooja Rani, a 28-year-old middle-weight boxer and a resident of Bhiwani, won the gold medal in the 81kg category at the Asian Boxing Championships 2019 on Friday, giving India its second gold medal.
Pooja battled extremely tough competition in front of her with reigning world champion Wang Lina but managed to fight all odds to emerge victorious.
What’s even more amazing about her story is that it took her close to six-months to convince her parents, especially her father, to allow her to practice the sport.
Boxing is a sport that leads to multiple bruises and cuts, and all through her training Pooja had to be mindful of concealing all of it from her father, lest he found out what she was doing.
Recollecting her father’s words, in a report published by Times Of India, she said, “he would often say that ‘Ache bache boxing nahi khelte (good children don’t [go] boxing).’ Such was the situation that I feared my father would stop me from going to the boxing ring if he saw my injuries. So, I would conceal my injuries from him as well as my mother.”
After getting to know of his daughter’s secret, her father banned her from enrolling in any training classes. This was when her coach, Sanjay Kumar, intervened and convinced her parents of her talent and the need for her to continue boxing.
What changed things at home was her clinching the silver medal in 2009 at the National Youth Boxing Championship in the 60kg category.
After this win, there was a shift in the attitude of her family members, and she slowly found support and validation from them.
Winning in 2009 was just the beginning for Pooja, who went on to win silver in the Asian Boxing Championship in 2012 and the Arafura Games held in Australia the same year. In 2014, she got a call to represent India at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 2014, and also clinched a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games in the 75kg category. In 2016, she won the gold medal in the South Asian Games.
Congratulations on this well-deserved win, Pooja!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)
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