Last month, when the 16-year-old Chandigarh boxer Diya Negi competed in the Golden Girl Championship at Boras in Sweden, the boxer, along with the other female boxers, had to also deal with the harsh cold in the Swedish city. With temperatures ranging from 1 degree to 8 degrees at Boras, Indian boxers competed in the championship and Negi claimed the bronze medal in the 60 kg category in the championship. It was Negi’s first international medal and the youngster sees it as a stepping stone in her career. Negi lost to Anastacia Butler of England in the semi-finals, however, India won a total of 14 medals, including six gold medals, in the tournament.
“It was a bit colder in Sweden as compared to Indian winters, but the Indian team stayed for a week in Sweden prior to the tournament. It helped us train accordingly and adjust to the weather conditions there. Reaching the semi-finals for the first time in my international career means a lot to me and getting bronze medal for India in the tournament has boosted my confidence. Although I would have liked to win the gold medal, this will help me in future international competitions,” said Negi, a student of Delhi Public School in Sector 40.
Negi, who started boxing under coach Bhagwant Singh at Sector 42 Boxing Hall four years ago, became the Chandigarh sub-junior champion in the 60 Kg category in 2018, before claiming the title again last year. The youngster had participated in the Junior Nationals in 2017 and 2018, and claimed silver medal in the 60 kg category in the third Junior Women’s National Boxing Championship at Rohtak last year. Negi had lost to Preeti Dahiya in the finals at Rohtak. Last year, she also claimed bronze medal in the 65th National School Games at New Delhi. Negi, who had also competed in Khelo India Games last month, is now eyeing a spot in Indian team for the upcoming Hungary tour.
“I played kho kho, kabaddi and other games at my school, before I opted for boxing. I had seen videos of London Olympics bronze medallist Mary Kom and was impressed by her. So I decided to join boxing under Bhagwant sir. Competing in my first two junior nationals also helped me and winning the silver medal in junior nationals last year was a special feeling for me. It also meant that I made my way to the national camp at Rohtak and training under coaches like Amanpreet Kaur further helped my game. My next target is to make it to the Indian team for Hungary tour and win a medal there,” said Negi, who also idolises London Olympics gold medallist Katie Taylor of Ireland.
Coach Bhagwant Singh believes that winning her first international medal will help Negi’s game. “When she came to train under me, she was a raw talent and we had to spend time on her fitness and technique. Over the years, she has improved her fitness a lot and her biggest strength has been her speed. In the weight categories ranging from 57-64 Kg, speed also plays an important part and her speed helps game a lot,” shared Singh.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines