E. Yoogasri nearly skipped the Khelo India Youth Games, held at Panchkula last month. Yoogasri’s boxing event was right in the middle of her 12th standard board exams, which concerned her mother.
“My mother asked me to focus on my board exams and skip the Khelo India Youth Games. After some debate, I managed to convince her to let me go to Panchkula,” Yoogasri says.
Yoogasri had the support of her father Elangovan, who is a boxing coach.
The Bengaluru teenager allayed her mother’s concerns by not only winning a bronze medal in the women’s 50-52 kg category, but also acing her board exams.
“I took a 2 a.m. flight to Bengaluru after I lost my semifinal bout. The same morning, I wrote my board exam and got 80 percent,” Yoogasri says.
The medal at the Khelo India Youth Games earned her a seat at REVA University in Bengaluru. “Reva University offered me an 85 percent fee discount. They have been very supportive of my boxing ambitions,” Yoogasri says.
Yoogasri’s mother may be pleased with her path, but she does have one rule. “She warns me not to break my nose,” Yoogasri laughs and explains.
Among the men, Abishek Samson and Mohammed Rayyan are among the brightest prospects in the State. The duo won gold in the South Zone senior men’s boxing championship at Puducherry, in the 71-75 kg and 63.5-67 kg categories respectively.
Samson states that he is keen to reach great heights in his boxing career, despite receiving little support from family. “It is very tough to focus on boxing without support from family. To get an income, I conduct boxing and fitness classes in gyms,” Samson says.
Rayyan, on the other hand, is fortunate to have the full backing of friends and family. He first wore the gloves when studying at Eastwood High School, and has made steady progress through the State and National ranks.
Now a BCA student at Al-Ameen Institute of Information Sciences, Rayyan has big plans for his future. “The immediate goal is to win gold at the National Games and at the National Championships. After that, I want to compete and win at international tournaments,” Rayyan says.
For Sagar Jaiswal, boxing started as a way to get fit. Jaiswal quickly realised that he had talent, and decided to test it. The move proved up be fruitful, as he won a bronze medal in his maiden competition - the South Zone senior men’s boxing championship. “The championship was a big platform for someone like me, who has just started boxing,” Jaiswal says.
Jaiswal works as a software engineer at Accenture, but manages to devote some time to boxing. “I do my boxing training in the morning, before my office shift begins. And when I’m free in the evening or night, I go for a run to build my endurance,” Jaiswal says.
Manoj Kumar, another bronze medalist at the South Zone senior men’s boxing championship, is a civil engineer who works in the construction industry. “I dedicate 90 minutes a day to boxing training,” Manoj, a super welterweight, says.
N. Sai Satish, Secretary, Karnataka Amateur Boxing Association, is proud that Karnataka took the overall runner-up spot at Puducherry. Satish explains that Karnataka plans to host the South Zone elite women’s championship and other tournaments. “We want to host many competitions to give good exposure to our boxers. This will take our boxers to the next level. Our aim is to have one exposure event per month,” Satish says.