When Alfiya Pathan joined the Divisional Sports Complex at Nagpur in 2015, she had wanted to be a badminton player. However, as she watched her fellow boxers training in the ring under the direction of coach Arun Bute, her interest in the sport soon increased. If that’s not all, during this time, her elder brother Shakib was also training in the sport, cementing her decision to give boxing a try.
Her hard work certainly paid off as six years later, Pathan claimed India's first gold at the 30th Adriatic Pearl Tournament in Bar, Montenegro held on February 20th. After winning the title of Asian junior girls champion in 2019, she managed an easy 5-0 win in the +81kg weight category against Moldova’s Daria Kozorev.
A fact that calls for further celebration is that all 10 of the girls from Team India that participated in the tournament, have secured themselves a medal. Apart from Pathan, Sanamacha Chanu (75kg) and Vinka (60kg) also won gold, while Raj Sahiba (75kg) and Gitika (48kg) finished in second, bringing home silver.
According to The New Indian Express, the women’s national youth coach, Bhaskar Bhatt, said, “We had to change four flights (New Delhi to Chennai, Chennai to Dubai, Dubai to Belgrade, and Belgrade to Budva) to reach Budva, only to know that the venue has been changed due to strict lockdown norms.” However, Bhatt was quick to praise the AIBA (world governing body) for making the event possible. “The venue was shifted to Bar, but it was just a 40-minute bus ride from Budva and the organisers did a wonderful job by ferrying us to the new venue,” Bhatt added.
Apart from these wins, India bagged a bronze as well. According to the report, as many as two boxers from the team have managed to reach the finals.
Image Courtesy: Twitter/TOI Sports (@toisports)