Last week when 16-year-old Simran returned to her home in Nayagaon, Chandigarh, after winning the bronze in the First Junior Women’s National Boxing Championship in Rohtak, the pugilist had to wait for over three hours to meet her father Vinod Kumar. With Vinod working as a mason and tile contractor in the locality, he often has to visit construction sites and with her daughter winning a historic bronze medal, it was a normal work day for the man. Simran, who currently trains at the Punjab Institute of Sports (PIS), Mohali, won the bronze in the 46 kg category and when Vinod returned home, he took the medal in his hands soaked with cement.
“I would always dream about becoming a wrestler and take part in village dangals. But, due to our financial condition, I could not pursue sports and had to learn the work of a mason. My hands are always covered with cement and sand but to see my daughter Simran winning medals hitting punches is a proud feeling. Even though that meant spending almost 40 per cent of my monthly earnings, her medals are always like gold for us,” gushed the proud father.
A student of Government Girls Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 20, Simran started boxing under coach Joginder at the Sector 3 Bougainvillea Garden in the open. The youngster became the state champion in junior category in 44 kg in 2015 before repeating the feat in 2016. Last year also saw her winning silver in 42 kg at the school nationals in Gwalior before the 5’ 3” tall boxer cleared the trials for PIS.
“When I started under Joginder sir, we would train in the open at the Bougainvillea Garden be it summer or winter. And, my father would buy me a new pair of shoes and gloves every six months to make sure that I continued training. The silver medal at the school nationals meant a lot to me as my friends in school also would talk all about my medal. When I was selected in PIS, it meant that I had to stay at the hostel. It also meant that my parents did not have to worry about my extra diet requirement. The bronze medal in the junior nationals also meant that I had been selected for the Indian Junior camp in Rohtak and I aim to play for the country,” said Simran.
Former national coach and former PIS coach Ramanand has worked with Simran for the last one year and rates her highly. “Simran has improved a lot in the last two years and hadn’t Ekta, another of our trainee, won the gold medal, she would have won the gold. Her strength has been strong punches and she plays with her mind. She needs to add more speed to add to her variations,” said Ramanand, who has joined SAI this month.