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Fehmida Zakeer

Sports

Boxing Is The One-Two Punch Kids In India Need

“For my girls, who hail from the slums and lower income backgrounds, a medal at even a divisional tournament can prove to be a life changer”

When the last bell of the day rings, the students of St. Joseph’s Girls Higher Secondary School in Chennai, India, rush out of the tall gates of the campus, chatting and laughing. Soon the facility is empty of students, save for some who assemble in the large hall beside the school office. Another group of girls wearing sweatpants and t-shirts arrives from outside and joins them.

The physical education instructor waits along with the girls for their coach. They don’t have to wait long. J. Narmada and her team soon arrive, and a flurry of activity ensues. A platform at the far end transforms into a training ring, as some students help to hang four heavy tires bound together over a hook on the ceiling. Another set of students hang a punching bag from another hook. Two girls carry 10 boxing gloves between themselves and set them at the edge of the platform while others busily wrap bandages around their palms. Narmada calls out, “Warm up start,” and the girls dutifully start jogging around the large hall as some mothers settle on the seats kept at the far end of the hall.

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