Boxer Laishram Sarita Devi, an Asian Games and Commonwealth Games medallist, has tested positive for Covid-19 at her hometown Imphal, Manipur, on Monday. The 38-year-old and her husband Ch. Thoiba Singh took a test at the Community Health Centre, Wangoi, Imphal. Devi was running a temperature and had a cold for three days.
“I was suffering from fever apart from soreness in body, along with light cold since the last three days. Ten days ago, I had gone to my brother’s home. His wife had given birth to a baby and I was helping my brother’s family. After we returned home, after two-three days, I had symptoms. At first, I thought it was muscle cramps but then we decided to get tested. We gave our samples yesterday and the results came positive for me and my husband. My eight-year-old son Tomthil, my cousin sister and her daughter have tested negative,” Devi told The Indian Express from Imphal.
Devi is a three-time world championship medallist and five-time Asian medallist. She was included in the Athletes’ Commission of the International Boxing Association last year. She and her husband have been shifted to the government-run Covid-19 care centre at UNACCO School in West Imphal district. They will be at the centre for a fortnight.
In June, when 1988 Asian Games champion boxer Dingko Singh had tested positive for Covid-19, Devi had helped Singh and his wife Babai Devi by making arrangements for his travel to Delhi. She was also in touch with the family once they returned to Imphal.
Dingko is one of the first people Devi spoke to after she tested positive.
“Dingko sir recovered from Covid-19 while battling cancer. He talked to me and assured me that everything will be fine,” Devi said.
Before going to the care centre, Devi adviced her son on how to keep himself occupied while they were away.
“Me and my husband told our son Tomthil not to worry and read books while we are away at the Covid-19 care centre here at UNACCO School. We have been reading about Covid-19 in the newspaper and other media and know that a lot of patients have recovered. I read about Indian hockey players recovering from the virus today and we too are expecting the same. The doctors have given us some medicines to reduce the fever. Talking to my son over the phone will also keep me busy. There should not be any stigma around Covid-19 patients. But on the other hand, we should follow all the precautions,” Devi said.
She is waiting to get back to training and has her work cut out because she has moved to a lower-weight category.
The Manipuri boxer lost to Simranjit Kaur in the trials (60 kg) before the Olympic qualifiers in Jordan. With Kaur sealing the Olympic quota, Devi is now aiming to compete in the 57 Kg category at next year’s Olympic qualifiers.
While the national camp for Indian women boxers has not been resumed, Devi plans to train at home post-recovery. “I have decided to compete in 57 Kg to fulfill my dream of winning an Olympic medal. I had been training at my home since March and once full training resumes, my focus will be on fast feet movement, which will be a key in this new category. In 57 kg category, a lot of boxers have made the shift from 54 Kg. My height will be an advantage,” Devi said.