Shillong: How about a quick summary of his journey before introducing Assam’s Gourav Mazumdar?
Born to a tea seller in Tinsukia, raised by his aunt and famous boxing coach Kalpana Choudhary, and shocked by the death of his opponent last year, this teenage boxer defied all odds before ending his campaign at the second North East Olympic Games with a bronze here medal in the men’s 48 kg category.
For Gourav, boxing has never been an ordinary sport, but a way of life, something he inherited from his mother, Sarita Mazumdar, and then from his aunt, an Asian Championship gold medalist. After learning the first tricks of the trade from his mother, young Gourav was sent to Guwahati to refine his skills.
“I was in 3rd grade when my parents decided to send me to my aunt for proper coaching as she was an international boxer and there were no proper boxing facilities at home at that time,” Gourav said. EastMojo as he strolls through the Indoor Hall here on a chilly Tuesday evening.
“Boxing was a natural choice for me, I was used to seeing my mom and aunt in the ring growing up, so I started shadow boxing at our house when my mom would train. But there were no proper coaching facilities there, nor was our family income enough to support boxing as a full-time career option.
“But as fate would have it, my parents soon realized my love for the sport and they decided to send me to Geetanagar in Guwahati where my aunt is staying. She is currently with the railway and training in downtown Maligaon. My younger brother is also a boxer and he also followed me to the SAI center, we train together in Guwahati,” he added.
Gourav’s father Uttam Mazumdar runs a tea stall in Tinsukia and every day redoubles his efforts to support his sons’ careers. Gourav’s uncle Dulal Mazumdar, who works in construction, makes sure that the promising boxers in the family are well taken care of and spends a large part of his earnings on his nephews.
In 2018 Gourav qualified in the trials for a berth at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) center in the city and never looked back. A bronze medal at the Youth Nationals in Sonipat was followed by gold at the All Assam Inter-district Sub Junior and Youth Boxing Championship at home in 2021.
He was subsequently named the ‘best boxer’ of the tournament, held at Sarusajai Sports Complex in March 2021, but what happened in the first round of the encounter against Shyamprasad Sarma of Sivasagar left a scar in the mind of the young Gourav.
“After the third and final round of the opening fight on March 16, I was back in my corner with my coaches taking off my gloves, and suddenly, when the referee wanted us both to declare the winner, I turned around and saw Shyamprasad lie unconscious. in the ring. We went forward to check on him and the doctors and medical staff soon rushed into the ring,” he said in a deep voice.
“He was soon transferred to a local hospital before being transferred to Apollo Hospital. He battled for three to four days before finally dying. He was a very good boxer, coming from the same region, I knew his game and it really hurt when I heard the news of his death,” Gourav continued as he looked for a bottle of water after learning about the unfortunate sequence of events on that fateful March evening.
“It was heartbreaking,” he added.
In 2022, Gourav returned empty-handed from the Khelo India Games in Panchkula, but soon promoted to the senior category to bag a gold medal at the Inter-District tournament. He doubled the joy with another gold at the East Zone tournament in Sikkim before taking silver at the NE festival in Imphal.
Though his boxing accolades in the sport are enough to get him a job, Gourav now wants to complete his 10th which he has been deferring for four years to qualify for a better job.
But for now, boxing is the priority, and the upcoming trials for the senior national championships in December are the first target in Gourav’s mind as he leaves Shillong after an eventful day in the ring.
“I was very confident that I would go through to the final after the first few rounds, but at the end of the day it’s the judges’ decision. I will have to go back with bronze and prepare myself for the bigger challenge,” he said before finishing with a smile.
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