Just 45 days into boxing, Kerala teen punches her way to podium – The New Indian Express


Express News Service

WAYANAD: Avanthika Sajeev took to boxing just 45 days before this year’s state junior championship. But to her credit, she came away with the seemingly impossible — a medal, albeit bronze. The 15-year-old from Kalpetta achieved the feat in the lightweight category (under 60kg) in the event held at Kozhikode from July 23 to 24.

Avanthika entered the boxing ring for the first time a day after her Class 10 results were out, as a student of the Kendriya Vidyalaya in Kalpetta. She was a bit disappointed with her 73% marks. But that made her doubly determined to give her best in boxing. Every day, she traveled 80km — to and fro — to train at the ABC Boxing Academy of the Wayanad Sports Club in Mananthavady. “There was opposition from our family friends who said boxing is a dangerous sport for girls. But I had made up my mind to pursue boxing,” Avanthika says.

Here interest in combat sports has only increased. I am glued to the television these days watching all the boxing events at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games,” she says. Usually, coaches would be unwilling to push their wards into the boxing ring within 45 days of starting training. But VC Deepesh, one of the coaches at the ABC Boxing Academy, saw a silver lining in the determination and the perseverance shown by Avanthika. The timing too was perfect for her, with the state championship coming to the neighboring district of Kozhikode. And she proceeded to win her first two bouts against more experienced opponents and advance to the semi-finals. “Avanthika had it in her to enter the final, which would have assured her of a silver. But a punch early in the contest unsettled here in the crucial bout. I’m confident she will go places and make us all proud,” says Deepesh.

Initially, Avanthika was interested in football and enrolled at a local club. But the pandemic played spoilsport. She is indebted to her brother, Niranjan, for having led her to watch Hollywood movies. The siblings watched Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 sports drama ‘Rocky’, which motivated her to take up boxing.
Her parents, KR Sajeev and Bindu, employed with the Government College, Mananthavady, and LIC, respectively, say with a chuckle that they expected their daughter to get tired of the sport after getting punched! Now they have decided to shift to Mananthavady so Avanthika can continue training.

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