UP’s ‘Mary Kom’ makes kites to make ends meet

In a country obsessed with cricket, champions in other sports getting ignored perhaps doesn’t make for a good news story. But, the story of boxing champ Rukhsar Bano of Kanpur is a sad saga which needs to be told as an attempt to stir the callous sports administration bosses out of their sweet slumber. Another national level boxer, also living in Kanpur, collects garbage from houses to earn his keep.


Once a national-level boxing champion, Rukhsar now makes kites at her humble home in Kanpur to make ends meet for the poor family. It’s indeed a back-breaking job to make 1,000 kites every day. The remuneration she gets for this job at the end of the day is a meager Rs 80.

UP’s own “Mary Kom” says she works day and night to make the maximum number of kites possible as she needs to collect money for the senior boxing national championship to be held in Assam later this year. The entire family is putting in all their efforts to help raise money to fund her further training.

“I have written to every one from the chief minister to the prime minister, the sports minister and senior sports officials but have not heard anything from them yet,” laments Rukhsar who has won 10 national and 12 state boxing championships so far. She has won many gold and silver medals, too, and is currently pursuing her intermediate studies.

While national level cricketers live in the lap of luxury, this boxing champ is living in deplorable conditions. Her father works in a private transport company at a monthly salary of just Rs 4,000.

With tears welling up in his eyes, Rukhsar’s father says be is finding it increasingly difficult to finance his daughter’s dream of becoming “a boxer like Mary Kom”.

“She even does not have proper shoes and tracksuits to practice for the upcoming championship whereas other athletes are busy practicing for the India level camp boxing championship in Vishakhapatnam,” he laments.
Meanwhile, another national-level Gold medal-winning boxer, Kamal Kumar now collects garbage from door to door for a living in Kanpur.

“I wanted to become the pride of the nation, but the government just doesn’t seem to case and so I didn’t get any financial support,” he says.

In 1991 he won the gold at the national boxing championships and a bronze at 1993 UP Olympic. He also won a silver at the 2004 National championships and a bronze in 2006.

“I am sad because even after playing at national level I was not able to get a class four job. I am doing this job of collecting garbage for a living, as I have a family which is dependent on me,” Kamal told a news agency.

“I have four children and two of them are boxers. I train my elder son, who is also a national level player. I was very passionate about boxing but got no financial support. I am sure my children will fulfil my dream,” he added.