23 May 2008

the boxing girls

Was filming in Kolkata
for a film on woman boxers
at a club that has been churning out
champs who have been doing well
at the nationals and some at the world championship...

set in a garden near Kali Ghat Metro Station
the club consists of a boxing ring
and a bare bones gym

the girls come everyday
to practice regularly under the watchful eyes of Asit Banerjee
who came up with this idea about two decades ago
when he began to pick girls who were from
families living in the poorer sections of Kolkata
boxing for them could be a passport out of poverty
if they excelled in the sport
a government job was guaranteed
initially this idea was scoffed at as many believed that women would not be able to
compete in such a sport

today the South Calcutta Physical Culture Association is churning out
women boxers at a hectic pace
with more and more girls are getting drawn into the sport

the challenge is not to do well at the national level
it is the next stage that be
comes difficult
while one of the reasons
is lack of good trainers and facilities
many of the boxers drop out once they get a job or get married

however some like Razia (right)
opt to become a coach and a trainer
she inspires younger girls from her area to take up the sport
today parents have become more open and become open to the idea
Priyanka(left) and Alam Ara (centre) have now been coming to club for some time
they hope to make it to the World Championship some day

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