Only a handful sportspersons are lucky enough to challenge their role model to a game. Boxer Pinki Rani Jangra is one such athlete.
Born and raised at Hisar, Haryana, Pinki always considered Mary Kom, the boxer of international repute, her role model. Indeed, it was a moment to cherish when she defeated Mary Kom at the quarter finals in a boxing championship held at Jamshedpur in 2009. Not only did that win bring her kudos and laurels, it got her thinking that she was now competent enough to have a shy at serious boxing.
Though she had started playing the game at the junior level a few years prior to that fateful win, Pinki was not equipped enough with the nuances of the sport to be able to win awards and recognition.
It was in the year 2006 that Pinki won her first gold, closely followed by her getting into the senior camp in 2007.
Getting into the boxing ring
Born in 1990 to a government employee father and homemaker mother in Hisar, Haryana, Pinki has two older brothers, both of whom were into boxing. Little surprise then that they got their younger sister too into the boxing arena.
But convincing her parents to let her play was a task. Being the youngest of the three siblings, Pinki was a pampered child and, needless to say, her parents were worried for her safety. More than anything, it was the image of the sport that made her parents anxious.
My brothers pushed me into boxing and even convinced our parents to allow me to play the game. Thus started my tryst with the game,
says Pinki, now a five-time national champion.
Preparing herself and getting trained in the demanding game was a challenge, more so as it meant her studies would be put aside.
There was strong competition in the senior camp and Pinki was awe-struck the first time she clashed with Mary Kom in the boxing ring, at the National Championship held at Agra in 2008. Both being in the same 46-kg category, Pinki grabbed the second position, while Mary Kom clinched the gold at the event. There has been no looking back since then, and Pinki was a National Games and Championship Gold Medallist in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Ten years younger to Mary Kom, Pinki says she is her idol. “It feels great to note that she is now my competitor, having always modeled myself on her. I have learnt a lot from her style of game and have, with time, developed my own technique. My dream is to take the game to a higher level,” says a modest Pinki.
She now enjoys huge family support to play the game.
She is getting geared up to participate in the Olympics and represent India.
Five years ago, in 2011, Pinki represented India in Australia at the Arafura Games in the 51-kg category, where she won her first international gold. In the year 2012, she won silver medal at the Asian Championship held in Mongolia.
Next in line was the Commonwealth Games held in 2014, where she won bronze. This boxer won gold medal at President’s Cup International Boxing, at Palembang in Indonesia in 2015.
The challenges for this pugilist
There have been instances in the past where Pinki had to prove herself and she needed to recover too. Being in bad form only meant that juniors were getting to the top and her career was starting to look shaky as well.
It was with a lot of encouragement from her brothers and her own junoon (passion) that keep pushing her higher up on the boxing scale.
“It helps that both of them have played at the State level and are well-versed with the techniques. They keep showing me motivating videos and that helps a lot in boosting my confidence and in developing my unique style,” says Pinki.
In her free time, Pinki loves to pen her thoughts in a diary and likes watching history shows.
Her mantra of success
So, how did it feel to receive an award from the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare this year?
It feels great to even think that my achievement has been noted and given recognition. It certainly is a big encouragement and motivation for me,
Having spent a large part of her life getting prepared to play the game, this sportsperson thinks girls need to embrace some sport in their lives. She opines that girls become stronger if they are into sports. “Also, if one strives hard to build a career in sports, they are sure to succeed,” says Pinki.