Kolkata: A lengthy lockdown can take a toll on the mind of any athlete, but teen boxer Ankushita Boro is more concerned about her downtime in practice and not being able to get sparring partners as she continues to work on her game and weight category with an eye on the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced Indians to stay cooped up in their houses with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing a 21-day lockdown starting from March 25. All sporting events, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, have been postponed or cancelled as the world grapples with the deadly virus.
"The challenging bit, more than the mental part, is not getting our coaches to guide us. I was working on correcting my technique and also on my weight category which is not there in the Olympics. We always had coaches on hand to correct us in camp and hostel. Now we are not getting that," Ankushita, 19, told IANS in an interview.
The U-21 Assamese boxer, who shot to fame after bagging a gold at the Youth World Championships in 2017 where she was also awarded as the best boxer, participates in 64kg Light Welterweight category but is looking to work on her weight gradually to fall in Olympics boxing qualification events.
"I have tried to reduce my weight but I am not the same (boxer) if I do that. So I am working on increasing my weight. I am still a long way from achieving that but I am trying. My aim is to make it to the 2024 Olympics," said Ankushita whose role model is M.C. Mary Kom.
"It is difficult to stay at home all the time but I keep myself occupied. I do physical training in the morning and in the evening, I try and work on my corrections in technique as advised by my coach (Trideep Boro)," she said.
The soft spoken Ankushita, who grew up just 200km from Guwahati, also thanked the Garv Hai campaign by the Adani Group for helping her train better for the Olympics.
"The Garv Hai campaign by the Adani Group has motivated me to train better for the Olympics. They are doing their best to contribute towards our success and wellbeing. We keep having frequent fitness routines and health checkups that are organized by the Adani Group. I am grateful for this opportunity to be selected as on the athletes during this time of training," she said.
Assam has produced boxers of note in the recent past with the likes of Lovlina Borgohain, Jamuna Boro and Bhagyabati Kachari leading the charge.
"The association is very supportive. Training is good here. The women boxers are working hard and the results are showing," said Ankushita when asked about the reason for her state's ability to churn out top-class pugilists.
On Mary Kom, a six-time world champion and an Olympic bronze-winner, Ankushita said she first met the ace Manipuri boxer at the India camp in New Delhi last year and got a chance to speak a little.
"She has influenced me a lot. She is right up there, defying her age and all other odds. We all get motivated seeing her," she signed off.