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'Brightest Star' Mary Kom Inspiring Sarjubala Devi For Boxing Glory at Asian Games

Aiming to replicate the achievements of boxing legend Mary Kom, Indian boxer Sarjubala Devi has set her sights on a Gold medal at the upcoming Asian Games. Competing in the 51 kg weight category at the Asiad, Sarjubala missed out on a Commonwealth Games appearance earlier this year, and she says that is something that is giving her even more motivation to do well at Jakarta and Palembang.

News18 Sports

Updated:August 15, 2018, 12:22 PM IST
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'Brightest Star' Mary Kom Inspiring Sarjubala Devi For Boxing Glory at Asian Games
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Aiming to replicate the achievements of boxing legend Mary Kom, Indian boxer Sarjubala Devi has set her sights on a Gold medal at the upcoming Asian Games. Competing in the 51 kg weight category at the Asiad, Sarjubala missed out on a Commonwealth Games appearance earlier this year, and she says that is something that is giving her even more motivation to do well at Jakarta and Palembang.

"Accha lagta hai jab log 'next Mary Kom' bolte hain (It feels nice when people call me the next Mary Kom. She's every boxer's idol. All of us want to be like her," Sarjubala told Firstpost at the Boxing Federation of India's send off for the Indian boxing contingent ahead of the Asian Games. "When I heard people call me that for the first time, I wanted to be like her all the more. I had hoped to get a trial for CWG, but that never happened. I was really dejected at missing out on a spot in the Gold Coast-bound squad."

That rejection, Sarjubala says, made her want to start afresh. "I thought I needed to change everything. I started with my hair. I decided to colour my hair gold as a constant reminder of what I am aiming for at the Asiad. Doosra colour nahi kiya, golden kiya taaki main lucky ho jau (I didn’t colour my hair in any other hue because I felt making it blonde would bring me luck)."

There are other things that Sarjubala has changed up as well. From the weight category she is competing in at the Asian Games (51 kg from 48 kg) to her training regime, she is leaving no stone unturned to ensure she is able to give her best performance at the Asiad. "The Asian Games will not have the 48kg event, neither will the Tokyo Olympics. So I realised I needed to move up now. I have competed in 51 kg since the Rohtak Nationals earlier in January this year. I won gold there while in two international tournaments after that I returned with bronze," she said.

If Sarjubala does qualify for Tokyo 2020, she will potentially be in the same weight category as her idol Mary Kom, who will be 37 years of age by then. Should Kom choose to compete in the games, she will stand in the path of young Sarjubala. However, the prospect of her squaring up to Mary didi is one that she will take in her stride, Sarjubala says. "I have been in the same training camps as Mary didi for many years now. I always used to ask her to watch my bouts and tell me where I am making mistakes. She would tell me where I was going wrong. Of course, it’ll be difficult if I have to compete against her. Mary didi is the brightest star in world boxing. But when you get in the ring, everyone wants to win — it’s do or die. You have to play to win."

If Sarjubala wins the boxing gold at Jakarta and Palembang 2018 like Kom did at Incheon 2014, it would be an ideal start in her pursuit of following in the footsteps of her idol.
| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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