Laishram Sarita Devi is an Indian boxer from Manipur, who competes in the lightweight category. Devi is a former world champion in the lightweight class and a national champion. In recognition of her invaluable contributions to the sport, the government of India bestowed her with the Arjuna award in 2009.
|Full Name||Laishram Sarita Devi|
|Age||36 (1 March 1982)|
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Club||All India Police|
Laishram Devi was born in an agricultural family as the sixth of eight siblings in Thoubal Khunou Thoubal, Manipur. Laishram would help her parents with amassing firewood and in the farms, doing both of which assisted in building the stamina she has is known for today. Devi went on to pursue her high schooling at Waithou Mapal High School till the eighth standard after when she attended the Bal Vidya Mandir, Thoubal. There she concluded her matriculation. After taking up boxing, she found lesser and lesser time to devote to studies. As a result, Laishram joined an open-school to complete her class XII.
Devi, a bright student in schooling, was also good at sports. Out of all sports, she had a special affinity for boxing. Among others, Laishram was particularly inspired by the boxing legend Muhammad Ali. As a result, she convinced her parents and turned into a professional boxer in 2000. She was very quick in learning the basics. As a result, Laishram was competing in the competitive matches. In fact, just one year after taking up boxing, Laishram was already representing India at the Asian Boxing Championships in Bangkok in 2001. Not only did she compete there, but she also sensationally clinched a silver medal in the lightweight class to declare her arrival on the world map. The triumph was just a start for the 20-year-old Devi.
2006 World Championships
She went on to win numerous medals in various tournaments. She also became a national champion in coming years. Her career took a steep rise at the 2006 World Championships that was hosted in New Delhi. In the tournament, she was competing in the 52 kg class.
After progressing into the finals of the competition, Devi faced a stiff in the form of Viktoria Rudenko of Ukraine. However, her perseverance prevailed as Devi defeated the European as the match ended in RSCOS (outscored opponent). This was Laishram Devi’s first gold at the stage.
It had been a successful competition for India as well, as the nation won 4 gold medals, thus topping the rankings. She also won a gold two years later, at the South Asian Games in 52 kg category before winning the yellow metal in 51kg in 2010 and 60 kg in 2012 of the same event.
2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games
Laishram climbed to the peak of her career in 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Instead of the 52 kg, she was competing in the 60 kg category. Laishram had earlier made her way into the finals of the competition by comfortably beating Mozambique’s Maria Machonqua in the semi-finals. In the finals, though she had a disappointing bout, and had to settle for a 0-3 defeat. Nonetheless, she was the only women boxer to bag a silver or higher medal in the games.
The Incheon Asian Games Heartbreak
Having clinched the silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Laishram was confident of her medal prospects in another important competition, the 2014 Asian Games. It was in the semifinals of this competition when the 29-year-old Devi was fighting against South Korea’s Park Ji-Na. In spite of dominating the proceedings for most parts, in the end, the verdict went in the favour of the local boxer, much to the dismay of Laishram.
Later, in front of a packed house and millions of others watching back at home, an emotional Laishram handed the bronze medal to the South Korean. Although she apologized and accepted the medal later, AIBA had already suspended her for misconduct.
The unfortunate harshly impacted the boxer’s career, especially since she was in the form of her life.
She had received the stringent of punishments because the then chief of AIBA, Wu Ching-Kuo, was a South Korean. He had said in a press conference that Laishram would receive heavy punishment because she “betrayed my country.”
The ban was a serious blow to Devi’s prospects of competing in the Olympics.
An undeserved ban could shake many, but not Laishram. She made a rousing comeback in 2017 when she won a bronze at the South Asian Championships in the 64 kg category.
She backed it up with a silver medal at the India Open in January, followed by a bronze at the Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament. She also went on to make an appearance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 Asian Games. In the Commonwealth Games, she went as far as quarterfinals in the women’s 60 kg category.
Laishram Devi will be spearheading India’s challenge at the 2018 Women’s World Boxing Championships along with fellow Manipur boxer MC Mary Kom.
Laishram Sarita Devi was born in an agricultural family in Thoubal Khunou Thoubal, Manipur. She was the sixth of eight siblings. She is married to Thoiba Singh. The couple has a son called Tomthil.
|2001||Silver||52||Asian Boxing Championships in Bangkok|
|2006||Gold||52||Women’s World Boxing Championships|
|2008||Gold||52||South Asian Games|
|2010||Gold||51||South Asian Games|
|2012||Gold||60||South Asian Games|
|2014||Silver||60||Glasgow Commonwealth Games|
|2017||Bronze||64||South Asian Games|
- Arjuna Awards