Simranjit Kaur wants boxing gold in Tokyo for India and mother
For Simranjit Kaur, boxing started as an avenue to alleviate her family from poverty.
But now, her punches are aimed at a bigger dream – to stand tall on the Olympic podium with the Indian national anthem playing.
“During my childhood, the condition at home wasn’t too good,” she narrated during an Instagram Live chat with former wrestler Sangram Singh.
“We used to even struggle to put food on the table. Me, along with my three siblings, used to work hard to overcome these hardships the best we could.
“I always believed I could give my family a better and more comfortable life by winning a medal for my country,” Simranjit Kaur said.
Having won medals at the World Championships and Asian Championships already, the 24-year-old is now one of the top bracket female boxers in India. The fulfilment, however, hasn’t stopped her from aiming higher.
“Now, it’s important for me to win an Olympic medal. Standing on the Olympic podium with Jana Gana Mana (the Indian national anthem) playing in the background – that’s the dream,” said the pugilist.
For mother and country
The Punjab-born boxer is all set to have her first crack at her dream next year in Tokyo.
Simranjit Kaur was amongst the nine Indian boxers who confirmed their place in the Games during the Asian Olympic Boxing Qualifiers held in Amman, Jordan in March.
She stamped her ticket for the 60kg category after beating Mongolian boxer Namuun Monkhor in the quarter-finals en route to a silver medal finish.
“I want to win for my country and my mother,” she added.
“My mother, Rajpal Kaur, is my first inspiration. Then my elder sister Amandeep Kaur, because she was the one who taught me boxing from the start. She introduced boxing to me,” she pointed out.
For both Simranjit Kaur and Amandeep, a decorated national-level boxer herself, having a strong-willed mother to support them was paramount.
“People used to say ‘They are girls, why are you allowing them to box? Get them married instead or make them study’. But my mother is very fond of sports. So, it was our dream to introduce us to sports but later we also got inclined towards it.
“People keep talking. But if your mother supports you, there’s no problem,” she said.
A new frontier for Punjab’s boxing
Like her mother did for her, she is also looking to inspire a generation of budding female boxers from her home state of Punjab.
Hailing from Chakar, the last village of Punjab’s Ludhiana district, Simranjit Kaur is the first female boxer from the state to qualify for the Olympics.
“I want more boxers to come out from Punjab, especially girls,” she hoped. “The talent is there but it depends on individuals how they utilize it.”