Six years ago Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu stepped up for Indian at the Rio Olympics. While wrestler Sakshi Malik won the bronze medal, Sindhu bagged the silver after her defeat in the finals against Spain’s Carolina Marin. While it was a very poor outing for India overall, those two medals created a larger impact on Indian sports than just merely adding up numbers in the medal tally. It inspired more Indian women to take up sports as a profession, more families were encouraged to support their daughters as she pursued sports as her primary option.
Similar story prevailed for Indian pugilist Jasmine Lamboria who is thankful to Sakshi and Sindhu for reducing the bias against women in sports in India. The youngster hails from Bhiwani district which is known as India’s Mini Cuba for nurturing several boxers who have represented India at the biggest stages.
But despite all the factors it took a lot of convincing back at home for Jasmine to pursue boxing. So when she won against World Championship bronze medallist Parveen Hooda to book her berth for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, her uncle Sandeep reminisced the two Olympic medals that forced a change at heart for her family as they allowed her to pursue her dreams.
“I told him (Jasmine’s grandfather) we have to move with the times. Women are bringing glory to the country. We have to allow our girls to step into a boxing ring. Those medals in Rio made a difference. Jasmine is the first girl from our family to take up a sport,” Sandeep, a former youth champion pugilist, Sandeep shared as he was also a former youth champion boxer.
Her uncle Sandeep and his older brother Parvinder who represented India in the Commonwealth Games back in 2006 groomed Jasmine for the national selection. The family even opened their own academy in Bhiwani and enrolled Jasmine in the first batch. The stories from Sandeep and Parvinder got her interested in the sport and then she followed Mary Kom and wanted to be like her.
“As I am from Bhiwani, I always heard stories about Vijender Singh and then there was Mary Kom’s medal. Before that, because my uncles were into boxing, I had watched video clips of them in bouts. There was so much boxing talk around me when I was growing up. I guess I had to become a boxer only,” Jasmine shared.
It will be now interesting to see how Jasmine puts her foot down and trains even harder. Her berth at the Commonwealth Games is confirmed and now her aim will be to return home with some sort of an accolade which will only make her family proud.