Kavita Chahal — following in Mary’s footsteps

Kavita Chahal believes that she has the potential to corner greater glory in her second innings. "This is the best time for me, and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving it," she says.

Kavita Chahal... “Mary Kom has also been boxing even after having three kids. So I think I can also continue to box.”

For Kavita Chahal, a two-time World Championship bronze medal winner, M. C. Mary Kom, the London Olympics bronze medallist, is not only a good friend but also a huge source of inspiration. Their weight categories may be different, but Kavita finds some similarity between her and the five-time World champion, both having returned to the boxing ring after becoming mothers. Not to forget Sarita Devi, a former World and Asian champion, who made a comeback to competitive boxing to win an Asian Games medal after giving birth to her son.

For Kavita, 31, who bagged the heavyweight silver medal in the National women’s boxing championship in Haridwar last month, the decision to return to boxing following the birth of her son Viraj in December last year was not an easy call. She had to take care of her child, undergo training with her employer, Haryana Police, at Madhuban and go through the rigours of boxing training to get back into competitive mode — all at the same time.

During her month-long training in the run-up to the National Championship, Kavita took part in two state-level events in Haryana and secured gold medals.

“It was very difficult to return. Prior to the National Championship, I was training twice a day. My husband (Sudhir Kharab) stayed with me at Madhuban to take care of our child and support me. I am immensely thankful to him,” said the first Arjuna Award-winning woman boxer from her state.

A three-time Asian medal winner and an unprecedented eight-time National champion, Kavita, who has been taking part in elite events for the last 10 years, felt she can go on to fulfil her dream of being an Olympian.

“I want to go further even after having a family. I want to do well in the Asian and Commonwealth Games in 2018 and the Olympics in 2020. My weight has been included in the Commonwealth Games now and I am keen on doing well,” said Kavita, who is an inspiration to many girls in her village Neemri, near Bhiwani, in Haryana.

“Mary Kom has also been boxing even after having three kids. So I think I can also continue to box,” she added.

After completing her police training, Kavita, a former World No. 2 and World Police Games gold medal winner, wants to focus fully on boxing. “After my training at Madhuban, I will try to get into the Sports Authority of India Centre in Rohtak, so that I can do boxing training there. The National camp is also starting soon. I have to plan things well, keeping an eye on the bigger events in coming years,” said the soft-spoken heavyweight boxer.

A student of coach Jagdish Singh, a Dronacharya Award winner, Kavita believes that she has the potential to corner greater glory in her second innings. “This is the best time for me, and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving it,” she said.