Boxing angels from Kamburupitiya aim to go places | Daily News


Boxing angels from Kamburupitiya aim to go places

Pavani Kaushalya a budding talent
Pavani Kaushalya a budding talent

Boxing is no longer a male domain even in the deep south of Sri Lanka where young girls have taken up this noble scientific art despite initial apprehension from parents. It has become the number one pastime for some athletes who have previously excelled in mundane extra curricular activities such as track and field, netball and volleyball. Pursuing a combat sport requires not only dedication and skill, but tons of courage to get inside the roped square and go hammer and tongs at each other.

There was no shortage of talent and enthusiasm at the Southern Province Boxing Tournament held at Narandeniya National School in Kamburupitiya as the schoolgirls displayed their explosive skills to captivate the audience.

Pubudi Vidanagamage, Malshani and Best Boxer in the Boys category Tharinda Nethmina. 

Among them were two accomplished pugilists Lokuge Ishara Nishadi Malshani and Pubudi Maleesha Vidanagamage from Matara who featured in a classic duel 48-51kg Elite women’s final while G.K.Pavani Kaushalya also impressed to win the 45-48kg Youth Girls category.

All three are products of Narandeniya NS coach Pradeep Jayasinghe who has been instrumental in converting the region of Kamburupitiya into a boxing hub in the Southern Province.

Malshani and Vidanagamage figured in one of the best bouts of the evening giving a superb exhibition of technique and ringcraft fighting toe to toe with no quarter asked or given. The two 19-year-olds from Narandeniya NS who spar with the boys during practices say they have no fear when it comes to boxing though they don’t have the aura to drive fear into their opponents. In fact they could easily disarm you with their charming smile but turn tiger inside the ring.

Vidanagamage, a southpaw appeared to take the fight to Malshani in the early stages, scoring with her powerful left hand. Malshani was content to counter though finding difficulty to get her range but was crafty to step up the tempo midway through the fight as Vidanagamage appeared to run out steam. Malshani ran circles around her rival in the final round in particular to earn a unanimous decision.

Malshani deservedly won the Best Boxer’s award while Vidanagamage was consoled with the Best Loser’s prize. Malshani began her career in 2013 and displayed her potential to win a bronze medal in a school tournament as a 13-year-old. It was the first time she won a gold medal at the Southern Province meet, having been runner-up the previous four years. She was also adjudged Best Loser at the Novices tournament conducted by the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka and also got a silver in the under 54 weight category at the Intermediates meet.

Both Malshani and Vidanagamage aim to sign off their school career on a high at the forthcoming Stubbs Shield championship when they resume training after sitting the G.C.E. (A/L) examination. Vidanagamage has been around since 2017 winning bronze and silver medals at the Southern Province meet, but she blossomed into a top contender last year when she won gold at this meet. She also won a silver medal at the Intermediate tournament this year and is an emerging star in the 46-48kg weight category.

Kaushalya, 18, who began boxing at a tender age, showed immense potential when she won a silver medal in a school meet in 2014. The following year she carried away the Best Boxer’s award at the Southern Province tournament fighting in the 40-42kg weight category.

She bagged her third gold medal at the Southern Province tournament in the 45-48kg Youth girls category outpointing her opponent with a stylish performance using her reach to advantage.

Hailing from Bogahagoda, Agulugaha in Galle, Kaushalya who is an engineering student, dreams of joining the Air Force after completing her studies. A fine middle distance runner, Kaushalya is determined to fight her way to glory despite having a pencil-thin frame by using her fast hands and footwork. 

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