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Former world junior champion Mandeep Kaur hopes to become self-reliant after securing successive medals at National Games

Published at :November 14, 2023 at 3:59 PM
Modified at :January 14, 2024 at 1:06 AM
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(Courtesy : National Games)

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She earlier won gold medal at Khel India University Games this year.

Former world junior champion boxer Mandeep Kaur is hoping that a second consecutive National Games silver medal would open up doors for her recruitment in Punjab Police and end her dependence on her father’s farm earnings to fund her.

A two-time gold medallist at the Inter-University Games, and a Khelo India University Games gold medallist in 2023, Mandeep had bagged a silver last year in Gujarat and repeated that feat in the 37th National Games at the Peddem Indoor Stadium. In the final, she went down against Haryana’s Manisha Moun in the Featherweight category.

“It’s been a tough journey, especially when I have to keep going back to my father asking for money for supplements. Whatever pocket money I get from my family is exhausted in diet. It is difficult when you don’t have any sponsors to back you. But then life is all about hopes, and I hope the doors open for me after these National Games,” she said.

Mandeep, who hails from Chakar village near Ludhiana which is also the native place of Tokyo Olympian Simranjit Kaur Baath, fell in love with the sport at the age of seven. But her father’s financial condition made it difficult for him to pay for her gloves or training equipment. Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy then came forward to support her and Mandeep hasn’t looked back since then.

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The youngster, who had joined the academy after following in the footsteps of her elder brother Jagwinder Singh, won the 2011 and 2012 National Sub-junior titles, before picking up a gold medal in the 4th Junior Nations Boxing Cup held in Serbia in 2015.

After the junior world championship gold, Mandeep was selected to train under Dronacharya awardee Cuban coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez at PIS, Mohali. “Simranjit and I train at the same centre in Mohali under Fernandez sir. There are many boxers from Punjab and across the country who come and train at the academy, where thankfully I don’t have to worry about diet when I am there,” she said.

With Parveen Hooda already sealing a quota place for the 2024 Paris Olympics in the Feather weight division, Mandeep is now eyeing a gold at the upcoming senior national championships, to present her case for inclusion in the national camp.

Mandeep will head back to the camp in Mohali to prepare for the senior national boxing championships in Noida in December.

“It will be a very busy year for all boxers. I will head straight to the camp after the National Games, and will start preparing for the national championships. Winning the nationals will open the doors for national selection,” the 2019 national championship bronze medallist said before signing off.

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