Laishram Sarita Devi
- 'Arjuna Award' Awardee in the field of Women Boxing -
By Leivon Jimmy Lamkang *
Laishram Sarita is an exceptional women boxer not only of the country but in the entire world who has won number of medals in major international tournament. Born on 1st March 1985 at Mayang Imphal West District, Sarita is the 6th daughter of 8 siblings (Two daughters and the 6 sons) in her family. Like every sports loving kids in the state of Manipur, Sarita too had her taste for sports from local Sports Meets and Yaoshang (Holi festival)'s Sports meet etc since her early childhood days.
Born and brought up in economically backward family who depends of Agriculture, She described that with the careless boyish character she always assisted her parents at works from collecting firewood or assisting in the field work. This, in fact, is the key to her physical stamina that is giving her strength to box her way through tough competitions. She did her schooling till eight standard from Waithou Mapal High School till and finished her matriculation from Bal Bidya Mandir, Thoubal and finished her 10+2 in open schooling due to her busy boxing schedules.
Her career in sports begins with Kung-Fu (achieved red belt) and was almost ready to represent the state in National Games to be held in Manipur however withdrawn in the last hour due to some misunderstanding. Taking into account her enthusiasm in the field of Sports, her late Kung-Fu coach Ibotombi introduced her to boxing and trained under renowned boxing coaches like Ibomcha (conferred with Dhornacharya Award on August 29, 2010), Narjit etc. Women boxing during the late 90s have remained an unpopular sport in the country, until 1999 February, in the National Games held in Manipur. Sarita was among the women boxers who took part in a show bout as a part of the introduction of Boxing in the National Games.
She did her debut bout (National arena) in the First Women's National Boxing Championship in the year 2001, held at Chennai TN, JNI Stadium and won a first gold medal while her first international appearance was on August, 2001 at the 1st Asian Women Boxing Championship, at Bangkok, Thailand and won a silver medal. She has won 16 medals in the different national boxing events out of which only one silver medal almost perfect performance and 15 medals, including two gold medals in the World Women Boxing Championships, in 18 international events.
An exceptional boxer with outstanding achievement, determination and sincere dedication is the vital key to become a successful sportspersons, maintained Sarita.
She recalled that it was not an easy task for what she had achieved today and had gone through much struggling with fellow boxers especially MC Mary Kom, in every move to push their career in boxing from moral to financial support. She narrated that they used to stay in a rented house in 2003 at Soibam Leikai, an alternative to avoid missing their practice session due to distance problem. During this stage, what they could do is depend on each others, they skip meals in order to manage their diet which they could barely afford and sometimes adjudge with locally available herbs.
Slowly her hard days starts getting over, with the police department of Manipur offering her the post of Sub-Inspector (SI) in the year 2005 for wining a bronze medal in the 3rd World Women Boxing Championship, Russia and finally she was promoted to DSP rank in February, 2010. Besides that she also tied the knot with Chongtham Thoiba Singh, a fellow sports persons of Manipur, a quality National football player.
She was honoured with the prestigious "Arjuna Award" in the year 2009 for outstanding international achievements. She has fought in altogether four different categories, 51 kg, 52 kg, 54 kg and 57 kg..
Her biggest dream is to win a Gold medal in the upcoming 2012 Olympic. The Olympic event will also be her last performances an wining or losing will be decided by her fate she said adding she had full confident of wining a gold medal in the event. She lauded the support of her family members, husband, in-laws and well wishers and others.
Despite announcement of early retirement she would continue to promote boxing and change the face of boxing (especially women boxing), her future plan is to guide and train orphans or destitute children who have enthusiasm for boxing. The reason she hinted for is, once she has been deprived of this guidance due to her poor economy status. She is currently staying with her husband and in laws at A-114, Zone II, Games Village, Langol, Imphal.
Sarita's International Achievements are:
- 5th Asian Women Boxing Championship, Kazakistan-24th-30th May, 2010- Gold Medal
- 4th Indoor Asian Games, Hanoi, Vietnam-Nov.2009 - Silver,
- 9th World police and Fire Games, British Columbia, Canada, August 2009 - Gold,
- AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships, Ningbo City, China 22nd to 29th Nov. 2008 - Bronze,
- WITCH Cup Women Boxing Tournament Hungary 2nd to 7th Sept. - Silver,
- ASBC 4th Asian Women Boxing Championship, Guwahati, India 23rd to 28th Sept. - Gold,
- 4th World Women Boxing Championship, New Delhi 17th to 24th Nov. 2005 - Gold,
- Venus International Women Boxing Championship, Russia 18th Sept. to 2nd Oct. 2005 - Gold,
- 3rd World Women Boxing Championship, Russia 26th Sept. to 2nd October 2005 - Bronze,
- 3rd Asian Women Boxing Championship, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 5th to 12th August 2005 - Gold,
- World Women Boxing Tournament, Norway 27t Apr to 2nd May 2005 - Silver,
- DSF 2004 Indian Amateur Boxing Competition, Dubai 10th to 11 Feb 2004 - Gold,
- 2nd Asian Women Boxing Championship, Hisar, India 19th to 22 Nov. 2003 - Gold,
- Ahmet Coment International Boxing Championship, Turkey 15th to 22nd April 2003 - Bronze,
- 2nd World Women's Boxing Championship, Antalya, Turkey 19th to 28th Cot. 2002 - participated,
- 1st World Women's Boxing Championship, Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA 27th Nov. to 2nd Dec 2001 - participated,
- 1st Asian Women Boxing Championship, Bangkok, Thailand 25th to 29th August - Silver
- 1st Inter-Zonal National Boxing Championship, T.N Feb. 2010 - Gold,
- Federation Cup Women Boxing Championship, 2009 Erode, Tamil Nadu 29th Jan to 1at Feb. 2009 - Gold,
- 9th Senior Women National Boxing Championships, Agra, UP 2nd to 7th Nov. 2008 - Gold,
- 8th Senior Women National Boxing Championship, Rudrapur, Uttarkhand 8th to 12th Oct 2007 - Gold,
- SRM Federation Cup 2007 for Men and Women, SRM University Campus, Tamil Nadu 9th to 13th July 2007 - Gold,
- 33th National Games Guwahati, Assam, 2007 9th to 18th Feb 2007 - Gold,
- 6th Senior Women National Boxing Championship Jamshedpur, Jarkhand 29 Nov. to 3rd Dec. 2005 - Gold,
- 5th Senior Women National Boxing Championship, Kokrajhar, Assam 24th to 28th Feb. 2004 - Silver,
- 3rd Senior Women National Boxing Championship 2003, Aizawl, Mizoram 4th to 8th March, 2003 - Gold,
- 32 National Games 2002, Hydrebad, A.P 2002 - Gold,
- Women's Empowerment Year 2001 National Women's sports meet, New Delhi, 26th to 30th Dec 2001 - Gold,
- 2nd Senior National Women Boxing Championship, New Delhi 26th to 30th Dec 2001 - Gold,
- 1st Women's National Boxing Championship, 2001, JNI Stadium Chennai, TN 6th to 11th Feb 2001 - Gold,
- 7th East India Open Boxing Championship, Kolkata, W.B 11th to 14th Dec. 2000 - Gold,
- 6th East Zone Open All India Boxing Championship, Naharlagun, Arunachal Pradesh 23rd to 26th March, 2000 - Gold.
Browse a Gallery on L Sarita Devi here and here
* Leivon Jimmy Lamkang is a young Writer/Reporter from an Imphal-based daily. He contributes regularly to e-pao.net This article was webcasted on August 12, 2010.
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