It was an all-Indian show at the AIBA Women’s World Junior Boxing Championship in Taipei as the pugilists bagged seven medals including three gold medals. The star boxer turned out to be the 15-year-old Mandeep Kaur Sandhu who won two gold medals in the 52kg category on Saturday.
The teen who hails from Chakkar, Punjab is currently studying in 12th class and has already clinched many international and national titles. Mandeep began boxing at the tender age of seven following the footsteps of her elder brother, an amateur boxer.
The World Champion’s father Jagdev Singh reminisced the day when her daughter first began boxing. “At the time, we owned one acre of land and a buffalo and earned about Rs 20,000 a year. She got her first pair of shoes from the academy where she trained.”
It was the Sher-e-Punjab Sports Academy, the boxing powerhouse in Punjab where Mandeep started practising. The academy saw talent in the girl and immediately sponsored her. The academy-in-charge Balwant Singh was all praise for the 15-year-old and was quoted as saying, “We have a plenty of international titles, but a world championship is like an Olympic medal to us. The girl’s indomitable spirit took her to victory. She started boxing in 2008 and since 2011 is getting us medals regularly.”
While Mandeep defeated her Irish opponent 3-0 in the finals, it was Savita who trumped her Ukrainian rival Kateryna Rohova 2-1 to clinch the first gold for India. Next up, Sakshi won her gold medal in the 54kg category edging past her American Yarisel Ramirez 3-0. Soniya and Niharika Gonella also bagged silver medals in the 48kg and 70kg categories respectively.