Getting into unchartered territories and breaching bastions seems a normal thing to do for woman boxer Jaismine Lamboriya.

The 21-year-old from the Bhiwani district of Haryana, who had to fight opposition from her family to take up the sport despite coming from a family of boxers with Asian Games gold medallist Hawa Singh as her great grandfather, has now done something no other Indian woman pugilist has done. She has earlier this month joined the Indian Army as a havildar in the Corps of Military Police under the Mission Olympics programme.

Jaismine, the first Lovely Professional University female boxer representing India, recently won a bronze medal in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the 60kg weight category at Birmingham.

In this exclusive interview, Jaismine tells IANS why she chose to join the Indian Army, breaching a male bastion, and how it will help her in chasing her dream of winning an Olympic medal.


Why did you choose to join the Army? Nowadays there are so many other opportunities also available.

I chose the Indian army as to the date they did not have a female boxer. This initiative has been taken by the Army for the very first time, recruiting a female boxer and I was fortunate enough to be selected by them for this role. I am thankful to them for giving me this opportunity. Yes, there are so many other opportunities available in other government organisations like Railways, CRPF, Oil companies, and other reserve forces but Army attracted me the most and the uniqueness quotient being that I am the first female boxer representing India in Army.

Did you have any training with the Army before joining it? What about your regular boxing training, do you have a sparring partner at the Army?

No, there was no special training that was taken for getting selected into Army. To keep myself match-ready and fit, I always attend regular practice and training sessions. Getting into the Army will not have any effect on my training sessions and practice bouts. I will remain stationed at the India camp and my training would continue in the camp. When time allows, I could report to my unit but that entirely depends upon my schedule and the free time I get. As far as the sparring partner is concerned, in the Army, I am the only female boxer but in the Indian camp, there are many highly-qualified boxers like Simranjeet Kaur from Punjab.

How does joining the Army help you in your boxing career? Where will you be posted?

I cannot comment on the posting part right now, as I am not sure about that. As far as the elevation in career is concerned I do get a sense of empowerment as now I have a job and the proud rank of Havildar. On top of it, I have a regular income and that gives me a lot of freedom. Further, getting into the Army opens the gate to a plethora of other opportunities. Getting inducted into Army has helped me to shed the burden and keep my mind free for training and practice sessions that would prepare me for the upcoming tournaments.

What is the reaction of your family about you joining the Army?

My uncle Sandeep Singh Lomboriya is also one of my first coaches. The family always wanted me to join the army from the beginning. My family has been very supportive of my endeavors and has always pushed me to achieve the best. They are proud of the fact that their daughter has brought honour to the family and created history by becoming the first female boxer from the country who is proudly serving the Indian Army.

How has their attitude towards you taking up boxing changed over the years?

I am fortunate enough that my family has been very supportive of what I have achieved to date. Yes, I had to face resentment in the beginning when I wanted to take up this sport but when my family members saw my hard work and determination towards this sport and got counselled by my coaches Sandeep Singh Lomboriya and Lila Dhar from Lovely Professional University, they were quite assured.

To get their full confidence, coach Lila Dhar sir took my family to Lovely Professional University, they were amused and surprised at the same time to see the enormous size of the university. On top of it, what attracted my father and my uncle was the actual sports arena, which is the biggest amongst any universities in India having more than 12 boxing rings, 3 gyms, a dedicated shower area, and an Olympic-size swimming pool along with other facilities for 46 kinds of traditional and new age sports.

After seeing all these, my family is now fully assured that my career is in safe hands. That being said, our university officials explained to my family how the university will assist me in my studies so that I obtain a degree. LPU has waived off my entire fees due to my performance, for whenever I get time, I train with Lila Dhar sir and the other boxers that he is preparing for other national/international events. One thing that I truly love about my university is how they take care of the nutritional needs of the athletes and make sure that their students get trained on the latest and the best in-the-field equipment.

After seeing all this, my family has not only started supporting me but also they have pushed me to achieve the best in life. Furthermore, as I am in Army they are worry-free and know that I have made my mark and getting settled into my professional life.

My family members wanted to see me representing a government department as this would have relieved them from some of their responsibilities towards me.

What’s your main ambition in life?

I am currently focused only on the 2024 Olympics and all my efforts, training and practice matches are aligned towards achieving glory for my country and family in that mega sports event. Not only this but currently the majority of my life activities are centered around bagging the gold medal in the 2024 Olympics. I am in constant touch with my university coach, Lila Dhar Sir, and when I get time to visit Lovely Professional University, he makes sure that my past performances are discussed.

We talk about the corrective measures as well. As far as the training is concerned, special training sessions have started in the Indian national camp and we are getting tremendous support from the Indian team coaches.

Furthermore, as per the level of readiness and advanced training required, some of us boxers may get to visit abroad and get specialized training from there.

What are your plans for this year? Which tournaments are you going to participate in?

I have recently participated in the National Games and won a gold medal. Next on the chart is the Asian Games next year and my selection is due for the Games. Accordingly, I am preparing for that. Recently Commonwealth Games concluded with India being placed in 4th place, overall the boxing contingent did really well. For the next year, all focus is on the Olympics. Most importantly, in the upcoming year, qualifications for Olympics would start and my coaches and support staff have already started planning for that.

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By Dipak

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