Boxing is in my blood, says Sarita Devi

Sarita’s bronze at the Asian Boxing Championships on Thursday was culmination of “hard work” as she always insisted.

Sports beckoned Sarita and it was a choice which was to transform her into a celebrated boxer and a youth icon   -  M. Moorthy

Her flair to box conquers the exhaustion in the ring from countless hours of training and competition. The movements, a little shift in stance, a ramrod jab or a counter when cornered, are never compromised. “I am constantly studying myself and the opponent. It makes me confident. I back myself to win a medal,” Sarita Devi had said in an interaction with Sportstar a day before leaving for the Asian Boxing Championship.

Sarita’s bronze on Thursday was culmination of “hard work” as she always insisted. “Boxing has been an eventful journey for me. I take pride in my achievements. I have had to struggle a lot to get here. Life seems easy today, not just for me but the young boxers too. It was not so when I dreamt of becoming a boxer,” said Sarita about her difficult start in her state Manipur.

Painful past

Pain was evident on her face as she dug deep into the past. “Those were difficult times. Insurgency was heartbreaking. There were no jobs for the young. I saw youth being misled.

“We were told India is not for us. There was rampant drug menace. I often wondered, where did my future lie? I had to make a choice for myself and my family.”

Sports beckoned her and it was a choice which was to transform her into a celebrated boxer and a youth icon. “I knew my future was in sports and I made the right choice. I boxed for India. The National Anthem and the National Flag propelled me to give my best in the ring. I feared none once I began boxing at the big level.”

Once she began boxing, others feared her.

Her world

At 37 should she not just sit back and bask in the glory of her international feats — five gold, one silver and three bronze medals in the Asian Championship. “Boxing is in my blood. Off-season, if I take a break, I feel something amiss. I take two or three days rest and then this urge that I must get back to the ring. I feel my world would collapse otherwise. My motivation comes from my movements in the ring.”

Sarita’s mantra is, “You have to have a big heart to take the pounding. Boxing is about taking punishment well. To have the courage to fight. I just want to go on. I can’t say when would I stop boxing.” That time seems far.