Tiding over odds, Kerala boxers ready to pack a punch

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Sep 2018 10:18:59


By Paritosh Pramanik,

THEIR entire belongings were swept away, houses were submerged in flood waters. They had nothing left and had to spend nights at relief camps. But these Kerala boxers fought all odds unleashed by nature’s fury and somehow have managed to participate in the first sub-junior national boxing championship for girls.

The Under-14 girls championship is being organised by Nagpur Mahanagar Boxing Association under the aegis of Maharashtra Boxing Association and Boxing Federation of India. Kerala was supposed to hold State championship to pick up a team for sub-junior nationals on August 20 and 21. However, that had to be postponed due to floods which affected the South Indian State, due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season. According to reports, over 400 people died and at least a million were evacuated.

As the rains stopped and water receded, Kerala Boxing Association sought special permission from Boxing Federation of India to take part in the competition. BFI granted them permission on special category and the team was selected (August 28) a few days before the start of the meet. “It was a very bad situation in Kerala. Nobody was spared by this fury. Each and every house was under water. Our belongings were swept away and we were left with nothing,” said Kerala coach Biju A, whose own house was completely submerged.

“The boxers were shocked. P Milano MK from Kollauvathkal in Kolam, Annanya KC from Kannur, Arya A, Devi Krishna from Trivandrum and Nandana from Calicut, all boxers’ houses were under water. They had no roof over their head,” narrated Biju.

Said fourteen-year-old Milano, “We had to leave the place
and go to a relief camp. Barring our certificates everything is lost. Our houses were under water. It was very, very scary. I had no time to practice.” Anannya had a more horrifying tale to tell. “We were saved by God’s grace. A landslide took place just besides my house. We managed to leave our house in nick of time. It was really very dangerous. We spent several days at relief camp,” said the 13-year-old pugilist. Same were the stories of others boxers. They all had faced hardships but still boarded the train to Nagpur to participate in the competition.

As expected, the boxers’ morale was down. “They all were shattered. Their mind was with their families and they were always thinking about their house. But ever since they landed here in Nagpur, their mind got diverted. Now they are not talking about their houses, but about their bouts,” said M Rajesh Kumar, coach of the team.

“We had to comfort as well as counsel them. It was a very hard task because all had gone through a very difficult phase. But as the bouts started and they started winning a few games, the smiles were back on their faces,” said Keralite CB Raje, who is the Supervisor at the nationals. “At present the condition is much better with rains stopped and water receded. But now there is more bigger challenge. Our entire house is filled with knee deep muck. It is a very hard task to clear the entire house,” added Raje, who is also the Vice-President of Boxing Federation of India.

The determination of these girls is laudable. Braving challenges and leaving behind all problems, the boxers are ready to pack a punch inside the ring.