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Chhotu eyes greater heights after Bronze in World Championship

By Staff
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New Delhi, Nov 24 (UNI) In a cricket-mad India it is hard to find someone who completely detests the game and doesn't have time for it, but that's Chhotu Loura -- the Haryana-pugilist who won a Bronze medal in the just concluded fourth World Women Boxing Championship here.

Speaking to UNI on the sidelines of the Championship, which concluded yesterday with India winning the team title following their haul of four gold, one silver and three bronze medals, Chhotu said the madness surrounding cricket leaves her perplexed as India's favourite sport is hardly entertaining.

''I don't like cricket at all and I seriously don't understand why people are mad about this game here. Besides, I hardly get any time from my boxing practice to watch it in the first place. The obsession with cricket in India is just too much,'' Chhotu said.

The dimunitive 22-year-old started her boxing career three years ago and said she took up the sport because it offered her a chance of doing something different in life.

''It was after I had completed my schooling that I sat down and thought about my future and decided that to take up boxing because it's a sport which gave me a chance to try something different from the conventional. Moreover, I was an athelete in my school days and used to play all kind of sports,'' she said.

But coming from a village in Hissar, was it not difficult to convince her family, which may have been sceptical of its youngest member's sudden decision to take up boxing? ''No, they did not object to my decison. My family has been very supportive, especially my parents, who have always stood behind me and have allowed me to do whatever I have wanted to do in life,'' she said.

And the fiery counter-boxer in the 50 kg category has done her family proud, the Venus Cup gold medallist was in tremendous form in this Championship as well, but bowed out after a heart-breaking loss to world number three Hasibe Erkoc of Turkey in the semifinals.

Chhotu said she could have done better than the Bronze medal show had it not been for an accident, which almost runied her career four years ago.

''It was in 2002, when I accidentally fell from a bus while after a practice session. It ran over my right leg and it had to be operated upon and a rod had to be fitted into the leg. This mishap has affected my overall movement. I have difficulty in leaning forward and can't balance out myself properly in the ring, which has a bearing on my performance,'' she revealed.

However, the boxer said she could never quit the sport she loved so much even after going through the tough times.

''It was painful. The recovery took a long time and its after-effects cannot be cured. But I never thought of giving up my passion because of this,'' she said.

After four hectic days at the Champinship, Chhotu said she still doesn't have time to go back home as she has to report back at her Railway job in Ambala.

''I have to go to Ambala and join my job, so no time to go home,'' she said with a smile.

Asked what areas of her technique she would work upon after this championship, Chhotu said her body may not allow her to improvise much.

''In my mind, I can do anything but my body does not allow me. The trouble with my balance and movement does not let me make any changes or improvements to how I fight in the ring right now,'' she said.

And, before signing off, how did the name Chhotu come about? ''Oh, actually it's not Chhotu but Chhoto. I am the youngest in my family so my parents lovingly call me Chhoto but after I started boxing it became Chhotu because of the pronounciation. So thats how my team calls me,'' she said beore leaving for a photo-op with her World Champion team.

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