World Championships Silver-medallist boxer Manju Rani eyes Paris Olympics glory
Manju Rani was training at her hometown village of Rithal in Rohtak district of Haryana when she witnessed Mary Kom win the Bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
New Delhi: Manju Rani was training at her hometown village of Rithal in Rohtak district of Haryana when she witnessed Mary Kom win the Bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Mary Kom's historic win inspired Manju to continue with boxing despite several hardships in her career. In 2019, Manju's hard work reaped rewards when she won the Silver medal at the Women's Boxing World Championships.
"It was the proudest moment of my career. After Mary Kom, I was the second woman boxer in India who had won the Silver medal at the age of 20 at the World Championships. It was a very proud moment for me and my family," Manju Rani said.
In 2010, Manju lost her father, which led to her family going through financial hardships. She struggled to maintain her diet as an athlete at the time but received much support from her mother who continued to push her to continue on this journey.
"A life of every athlete is filled with struggles. But I am thankful for the support I received from my mother," Manju said.
"My motivation is to fulfil the dreams of my family. My mother has supported me all the time, so I want to support her for as long as I can. I want to make my mother proud," she added.
While initially starting her sporting career in Kabaddi, Manju decided to switch discipline because she wanted to pursue an individual sport. She struggled to get many opportunities to perform in her home state of Haryana, so she decided to move to the state of Punjab, where she went on to become the state Champion at the Junior and Senior Nationals.
On the back of her performance in the Nationals, Manju Rani was selected for the Indian camp, and soon she received opportunities to perform at the international events.
"Mary Kom's win has been a big stepping stone in the careers of all the women boxers in India. Her win inspired us all to pursue the sport and she has been a role model for all the athletes, and they always try to emulate her success," Manju said.
In 2020, amid the Covid lockdowns, Manju Rani faced struggles once again, unable to find support to fund her training and diet. With the lack of competition, Manju also faced financial strains. At the time, she received support from Dream Sports Foundation's 'Back on Track' initiative.
"The Back On Track initiative stepped in at a crucial time. They provided me financial support because of which I was able to maintain my diet and continue my training. It helped me in reviving my career. They met all of my requirements which I needed to sustain my career," Manju Rani said.
Now, back in training, Manju, who went down to Nitu at the Commonwealth Games 2022 trials, has her eyes set on making it to the 2024 Paris Olics.
"I wish to represent my country at the 2024 Olympics in Pariymps. India have done well in the 2020 Olympics, and I hope I can achieve similar success," she signed off.
Meanwhile, DSF has also recently collaborated with the Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation to nurture and support 30 young and talented boxers, with 20 of them being women. (ANI)