Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 7
Dechen Dolkar is struggling to explain her happiness after she became the first female boxer to represent the newly-created Union Territory of Ladakh. The crackle in the phone line made it harder to understand her words, but one thing is sure — Dechen, a Class XII student, has created history. She was part of a team of four who travelled all the way to Kannur in Kerala to participate in their first-ever Women’s National Boxing Championships.
Under the aegis of the newly-formed but yet-to-be-recognised Ladakh Amateur Boxing Association (LABA), the girls had only a 25-day camp to prepare for the Nationals. Only eight girls showed up for the trials and camp, of which Dechen, Farina Eliyas, Stanzin Youthag and Stanzin Angmo were selected to represent the UT.
“Our president Chewang Motup Goba wanted to send the women’s team as we had participated in the men’s event too, held in Baddi in Himachal Pradesh,” said Zia-ul-Hasan, LABA’s technical secretary. “Only eight girls came for the camp. We selected four,” he added. The training camp was held in Leh in tough conditions. “These days we have sub-zero temperatures, so we could not hold bouts. We selected the team based on the sparring sessions,” he said.
It helped that two girls — Dechen (48kg) and Farina Eliyas (69kg) — had some experience of competitions. Both the girls had competed in the School National Championships in the last few years. The four-member team was quickly reduced to only two on reaching Kannur. The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) barred Stanzin Youthag from participation as she had already represented Jammu & Kashmir Police, while Stanzin Angmo was declared medically unfit.
While they were happy to make history, the duo of Dechen and Farina were quickly brought to the hard grind of reality with resounding defeats.
Dechen lost her first-round bout against Ritu, who was representing Chandigarh, with a Referee Stopped Contest (RSC) decision. Farina suffered the same fate at the hands of Ansumol Benny from Kerala when the referee stopped the contest in the second round. “That girl was clearly superior. She punched hard and so I was given a count twice by the referee,” Dechen said of her loss. “A few of the girls later told me that even though my opponent had already represented India in a few tournaments, I did OK against her in parts,” Dechen added.
‘We start now’
Dechen is the youngest of four siblings and her father is a farm hand. She has had to balance studies and training to continue on this path. “It is hard but I am used to it now. I came here for experience and now I want to stay in this game even more and work even harder because I believe I can give good results,” she added.
Hasan said the girls from Ladakh did “OK” and the association has plans to help all the boxers to grow. “I think they did alright. We knew there we are a long way from the standards of some of the teams that are here. But I saw enough that assures us that these two can have a future,” he said.
“We are talking to some of the teams so that we can have our camps away from the cold and harsh conditions of Ladakh. You have to start from somewhere and we started alright,” he added.
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