At the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to take place in 2021, Indian will be sending a record 9 boxers, which will be the highest ever recorded.
Amongst them was Simranjeet Kaur. Hailing from Punjab, the 24-year old qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after defeating a Mongolian boxer in the quarterfinals of the World Championship qualifiers held in Amman, Jordan last month.
As a result, she became the first-ever women boxer from Punjab to qualify for the Olympics. She qualified for the Olympics in the 60kg weight category.
Prior to that, she won a Silver medal at the 2019 Asian Championships held in Bangkok. She’s also a world championship medalist as she won a Bronze medal at the 2018 AIBA women’s world championships held in New Delhi.
Sports India Show had the opportunity to chat with Simranjit Kaur, where she talked about her Olympic aspirations and time under quarantine.
1.) How is your training going on under lockdown? Are you able to train?
I am doing well and also getting a lot of time to spend with my family. Yes, I am training hard and our coaches are sending us weekly schedules, So I follow that.
We have also been provided with equipment by the Federation and I am utilizing it to the full extent and preparing well.
2.) Earlier this year I read reports about you struggling to find a job, after qualifying for the Olympics, has the government offered you any sort of jobs apart from the 5lakhs that the Punjab government gave you?
Yeah, the Punjab Govt. has assured me of a job, however, I haven’t been provided with any type of clarity as of yet.
. @Simranjitboxer Don’t worry about anything, just focus on the upcoming Olympics. I have directed Secretary, Sports to immediately look into what needs to be done. Also I would like to thank all on Social Media & the media who highlighted the issue. https://t.co/xBWn80pxML
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) January 16, 2020
First Punjabi woman boxer to secure Olympic berth @Simranjitboxer calls on Chief Minister @capt_amarinder Singh. Chief Minister announces ₹5 LAC for her, Sports Minister assures government job. pic.twitter.com/fAw3vf2Tj7
— CMO Punjab (@CMOPb) March 16, 2020
After I qualified for the Olympics, Hon’ble Chief Minister Capt. Amrinder Singh has said that they would provide me a 5 lakhs rupees fund to help prepare for Tokyo 2021, but I haven’t received that fund either.
It is also important to note that Simranjit’s father passed away in 2018 due to a heart attack and prior to that her father worked at a grocery store and earned a meager Rs 4,000. She has a family of five who solely rely on her earnings from different tournaments she participates in.
3.) You are also a 2nd year BA student from Chandigarh university, what prompted you to go back to college? Why weren’t you able to complete your graduation beforehand?
When I was persuing my graduation I was continuously in camp and all the competitions happened at a time when my exams were also scheduled. It was impossible for me to avoid competitions. This hampered my studies, so now I am trying to complete my graduation.
4.) You have previously said that you aspired to become a teacher growing up, do you still think about it?
Yeah, I aspired to become a teacher, but that’s not possible now as I still plan on continuing my boxing career, so I would rather have Punjab goverment provide me with job opportunities.
5.) Your mother pushed you towards boxing, what does support from your family mean to you?
I have two brothers and a sister and all of us have been boxing for a long time. So, I have always had the support of my family. Even today wherever there is any sort of competition, my mother comes with me to help me out and support me.
Even during this lockdown, my mother is looking after me and my brothers. My brothers are national medalists and are even helping me out during my training sessions.
6.) Now that you have qualified for the Olympics, what kind of treatment are you getting from your neighborhood, are they treating you like a superstar? Do you have any pressure when people around you have such high expectations?
I hail from Ludhiana’s Chakar Village and I have always had the support of people in my village and after qualifying for the Olympics, all of Punjab knows about me and they’re talking about me. This is definitely a morale booster to have the support of the people in my state and country.
I am not in any type of pressure as I believe in my hard work.
7.) Many boxers out there were inspired by someone inside the ring, is there anyone you were inspired by?
Prior to me, my elder sister used to do boxing. Amongst all my siblings, I started boxing pretty late. I got into boxing after seeing my elder sister and was very inspired by her. Her name is Amandeep Kaur and she is a four-time national medalist.
8.) What are your expectations from the Olympic games? How do you see yourself performing?
I am training very hard and I am very confident in my abilities. I am sure that I will perform well at the Tokyo Olympics and won’t disappoint anyone.
9.) Olympic is delayed by a year, are you bothered by it in anyways?
I am actually quite happy that the Olympic games have been delayed. After qualifying for the Olympics, we would have only had couple of months of training, but this way we get to work on out technique more and I am confident that I will be in much better trained and improved boxer.
10.) This year a record 9 boxers qualified for the Olympics, why do you think that happened, are Indian boxers being provided with better facilities or is there any other reason?
Earlier boxing wasn’t promoted as well as it is right now. Our current federation is supporting us very much and providing us with world-class facilities. Our coaches have also improved and there has been lot of positive changes that have resulted in such a high number of boxers qualifying for the Olympics.
11.) Of all the boxers that have qualified for the Olympics who do you think will bring a medal for India?
In this Olympic qualifiers, our boxers have performed very well. Last time in the Rio Olympic games, no female boxer from India managed to qualify and this time around four women boxers have already qualified and one boxer still has to go through qualifiers and I am confident that she will make the cut as well.
So I am sure that Indian boxers will more medals than previous Olympics.