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Sarita unique way of saying 'Happy Birthday Tumthil'

Tuesday, 25 February 2014 - 8:30am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
  • (Top) Laishram Sarita Devi’s husband, Chongtham Thoiba Singh, with their son Tumthil. (Below) Sarita during a training session in New Delhi on Monday

Tumthil turns one on Tuesday (Feb 25). His mother, five-time Asian Championship gold medallist Laishram Sarita Devi, is back in the boxing ring with just one aim — add a few missing gold medals to 'present him during his future birthdays'.

And her dream is to add the elusive Asian and Olympic medals to her gift bag.

But, this is easier said than done. Ask Sarita, who has been hard pressed for time to devote to bringing up Tumthil. The young mother has ensured that her son accompanies her to all the camps. After the camp in Patiala, Sarita is in the Capital with her son in tow.

No matter how rigorous and tiring the schedule at the national camp, the spunky boxer regains her energy as soon as she cuddles Tumthil in her hostel room.

"Sometimes, I get so tired after training that I find it tough to walk till my room. But once I lift my baby into my arms, I forget all my tiredness. I can play with him for hours and hours," she says after a gruelling three-hour training schedule here at the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium.

Even during her pregnancy, Sarita kept working on her comeback plans. Giving up her first love — boxing— was never an option. She says the only thought that occupied her mind was "How to win a medal at Rio Games?".

"Missing London Olympics was like a nightmare. I knew I deserved to be there, but a change of weight category after Asian Games (from 52kg to 60 kg category) changed everything for me," says Sarita.
And it was a tough call when Sarita picked up her boxing gloves, just three months after Tumthil's birth.

"That was the biggest challenge of my life — shape up again for the ring. It was tiresome, but then my husband (Chongtham Thoiba Singh, a fellow sports person of Manipur) and the entire family helped me overcome all these issues," says 29-year-old Sarita, who is Dy SP in Manipur Police.

The elder sister of Indian light flyweight boxer Devendro Singh Laishram, Sarita was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2009.

"I am also aiming for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award now. And I know if I win gold in the next Asian Games, I would get that. That's why am eagerly awaiting my next bout," says the boxer, who along with Olympic Games bronze medallist Mary Kom, has been instrumental in popularising the sport in the country.

Advised a few days rest after injuring her right shoulder muscle last week, the spunky boxer says, "I was unable to give time to my family in the last six years because of my training schedule. But once my Olympic dreams were shattered, I just shut myself out from the boxing ring and fulfilled my family's dreams. Now, I'm back fresh and there is no distraction in my mind. I'm back to realise my unfulfilled dreams."

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