Gangtok, 14 Jul:

International pugilist from Sikkim, Pratima Gooroong, has been working hard to prepare Olympian boxers from Sikkim who can represent the country in the upcoming 2024 Olympics. Currently working as the State Coach for boxing under Sports & Youth Affairs Department, she is also training young boxers at her residence near Helipad for free.

Pratima led India’s junior women’s team in two world championships as the coach in Turkey in 2011 and in Bulgaria in 2014.

“When I saw good performance by my players in these world championships, I thought if I put the same effort towards training young children of my home State then they can also represent the country. This motivated me to come back to Sikkim to train young pugilists,” she said.

After being appointed as the state boxing coach by the SYA department in 2015, Pratima immediately started to visit schools in and around Gangtok to create awareness in boxing and to spot skilled and interested boxers from schools. She has also been conducting free boxing coaching camps durin winters in different schools using her own equipments.

Starting with around six students, she now has 30 students of age group 10-15 years training under her. She is providing training to students at Paljor Stadium complex in the morning and at her house in the evening. She trains students for three hours regularly every evening and up to six hours during holidays.

“My target is to produce international level boxers from Sikkim to represent the country in the upcoming 2024 Olympics. Keeping in view this target, we have been working hard day and night with full dedication,” Pratima said.

She also expressed her desire to produce more girl boxers from the State in the national and international levels.

“I want to promote more girls from the State and if female boxers work hard then they have more opportunity to represent the country in the near future,” she said.

Pratima expressed her deep gratitude to her husband, Ramanand, who has already led the national boxing team in international championships and is presently working as senior boxing coach of Sports Department, Government of Punjab. She thanked him for providing regular guidance in training young children and for sponsoring two young pugilists from Sikkim to be trained under an experienced foreign coach, Bilash Fernandis, from Cuba last winter at Chandigarh.

She plans to organise more camps in different parts of the State to create awareness in boxing and to spot raw talents from all corners of the State. She is looking forward to starting a good foundation school in boxing along with her husband in the future to make a good base for boxers in the State.

However, Pratima stressed upon the need for sponsorship, as many local pugilists come from underprivileged backgrounds.

“If local people come forward to sponsor at least one pugilist it would help them to train harder and reach higher level,” she said.

She expressed her deep gratitude to Sikkim Police ADGP, SD Negi, for his constant support and guidance till date. She has especially thanked Ugen T Ladakhi and other friends and family members for supporting young boxers.

“There are lots of challenges and hardships that will come our way but I am confident that my students will represent the country at the international level in days to come,” she expressed.