Posts Tagged ‘women boxers’
Olympic Boxing: “With This Ring” – a new documentary lifts the lid on problems facing women boxers in India
By Michael O’Neill
Women’s boxing was one of the great success stories of London 2012 and not just from an American,British or Irish viewpoint – indeed the sport’sInternational Boxing Association (A.I.B.A) declared that the introduction of women boxers – the last Olympic sport to include both sexes – was considered to be one of the highlights of the entire London 2012 Olympic Games, enticing spectators and media from around the world to one of the hottest venues of the past weeks.
The Katie Taylor/Claressa Shields and Nicola Adams stories have been featured in just about every corner of the earth and not just in their home countries - and rightly so , yet here let us look at the great achievement of another of the world’s finest pugilists, Mary Kom from Manipur – pinweight Mary was one of those who had to move up two weight classes just to qualify for the Olympics but yet ‘Magnificent Mary’ managed to pull off a Bronze behind new Olympic champion Nikki Adams and China’s world title holder Cancan Ren.
Mary has long been one of the pioneers of women’s boxing and indeed has won the World Championship crown on five occasions. Mary and the otherIndian women have come up against every possible barrier in their home land to gain acceptance for women’s boxing and have had to fight against numerous prejudices. Later this year there will be a new documentary “With This Ring” which should be compulsive viewing for every boxer male or female and not only in India but worldwide. The documentary’s producers Anna Sarkissian and Ameesha Joshi have spent the past six years following the braveIndian women boxers around the world, mainly at their own expense. So what particular problems do the Indian women face?
Let Ameesha and Anna speaking from Canada tell us of some of the many problems they do face and that will not go away “immediately” despite Mary Kom’s bronze in London.
“The 35-strong Indian women’s national boxing team trains year-round, six days a week in blistering heat and heavy downpours. As you can imagine, women’s boxing is neither popular nor widely accepted in India, where many women are pressured to marry and abandon their career aspirations.
They are some of the best boxers in the world. And the most under-appreciated.
These women are trailblazers in the purest sense, who can inspire others around the world to step out of the mold and pursue their passion. Though some women have risen to power and achieved prominence in India, many are still treated like second class citizens. The rate of female infanticide and sex-selective abortions is alarming, to say the least. Though these issues are complex and linked with religious, financial, and cultural concerns, suffice it to say that these boxers have had their share of hurdles and there is so much we can learn from their journey.
Though Mary is now becoming a household name (finally!), the other boxers train in relative anonymity, with little to no recognition for their achievements. There are numerous world champions (at different grades inc youth and junior) on the team who started out with nothing and fought against centuries of tradition to rise to the top. Without this film, their inspirational stories would be cast into the shadows”.
“Young women in India are usually known as somebody’s sister, daughter, wife or mother. For the first time, they are gaining independence by setting their own goals, living independently, and taking the world by storm.
Yes, some have short hair. And yes, they show their legs and wear athletic gear–something which most Indians would frown upon. As one woman that we interviewed put it, wearing shorts amounts to “degrading women.”
Their parents are concerned. At least, they are at the beginning. With bruises or scars on their face or hands, they worry that their daughters will never marry. The importance of holy matrimony cannot be underestimated in India. It’s the most important day of your life.
Then, the boxers start winning. In the case of five-time world champion Mary Kom, her parents only found out she was a fighter when they saw her picture in the newspaper. Her father wasn’t pleased. Mary is now the most successful amateur boxer (male or female) in history and supports her husband and two children financially. Her family came around.
Boxing isn’t all about glory or world championships. Many of these women are boxing to get out of poverty. Successful athletes are often rewarded with government jobs in the railway or police force, complete with pensions and benefits. It’s almost like hitting the jackpot.
All this doesn’t come easy. The Indian women’s national boxing team, composed of about 35 boxers, trains year-round. Whether it’s 50 degrees or 5 degrees, they wake up at dawn and start working. They generally train two to three times a day, six days a week, for up to 2 hours at a time.
Some of the boxers are also in school at the same time. Their schedule goes something like this: train, eat breakfast, school, train, eat lunch, school, dinner, train, sleep. It’s non-stop “.
True, all women have had to fight against prejudice for many years to even get to the Olympics, and many great former champions have never made it , but few have faced the struggle that Mary Kom has - she became India’s first ever women’s Olympic medallist – against all the odds.
You can see clips from the documentary here via Youtube
And follow the making of the documentary via: http://www.indiegogo.com/withthisring
More Clipts About India’s Mery Kom
April 29, 2011
AIBA Junior & Youth Women’s World Boxing Championships
A solid performance by Russia’s young women boxers leaves the country dominating both the AIBA Junior & Youth Women’s World Boxing Championships in Antalya, Turkey, where the finals are slated for Saturday, April 30th.
Russia has six athletes in the finals of the Junior competition and five in the Youth competition, having started out with 13 junior boxers and ten youth boxers in the respective competitions. Host nation Turkey is hot on Russia’s heels as a potential leader in the medals table for the Junior competition, having also qualified six boxers for the finals, but lags behind in the Youth field with only light welterweight Elif Kayan in action on Saturday.
India remains a force to be reckoned with, having qualified five boxers for the finals across both tournaments, and will be vying with Turkey for the medals in the lower weight categories of the Junior Championships as the two countries go head-to-head in the pinweight and flyweight finals.
India’s triple Junior National Champion Lalenkawli will open the proceedings against Turkey’s 2011 Junior National Champion Neriman Istik at pinweight and Turkey’s double Junior National Champion Ulku Demir will take on Zareen Nikhat, India’s 2010 Schoolgirl Champion, in the flyweight.
The youngest boxer in the Junior Championships, India’s 2009 Junior National Champion Lalfakzvali, will be going for gold in the light bantamweight final against Vietnam’s surprise package Thi Vy Vuong, who has won all three of her preliminary bouts inside the distance after graduating from AIBA’s Road to Antalya training camp prior to the championships.
Vuong’s team-mate Thi Phuong Pham – also a Road to Antalya graduate – has qualified for the finals in her light flyweight division and will take on Japan’s only remaining representative in the competition, Kasumi Saeki.
New Zealand’s Thea Awhitu is Oceania’s sole representative in the finals of the competition. The 2009 New Zealand Junior Champion will face Turkey’s double Junior National Champion Reyhan Cakir in the featherweight final.
The light welterweight final will be an all-European affair featuring Germany’s Larissa Mischanin and Sweden’s Hanna Lundblad, bronze medallist at the 2010 European Junior Championships.
Russiadominates the upper weight categories of the Junior competition with a presence in four of the remaining seven finals, where the team’s boxers will face opposition from their neighbours such as Kazakhstan and Ukraine, well as host nation Turkey.
In the Youth competition, Russia will face tough competition from Sweden and China, who have both qualified four boxers for the finals.
Top favourite Svetlana Dmitrieva, the 2010 European Junior Champion, will start the action in the light flyweight contest against India’s Sarjubala Shamjetsabam, who already has 34 bouts in her international career.
Vietnam’s Thi Duyen Luu takes on China’s Lili Niu in the bantamweight contests after becoming the third of four Vietnamese boxers in the competition to qualify for the finals as part of the country’s superlative performance in Antalya.
The featherweight contest has the potential to be one of the highlights of the Youth finals, since it will be a re-match of the 2010 European Youth Championship final between England’s Charley Davison on Germany’s Ornella Wahner. Triple A Amateur Boxing Club boxer Davison took the European title last year with a close 2:0 victory against the experienced German.
Russiaand Sweden will face-off three times in the Youth competition, with Patricia Berghult taking on Anastasia Belyakova in the lightweight final and favourite Love Holgersson facing Irina Tsarkova in the welterweight contest. Sona Hakhverdyan and Viktoriya Krylova will be the third Sweden-Russia match-up in the finals and will have the honour of closing out the competition in the heavyweight final.