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In 1994, the first women’s boxing competition in India met stiff resistance and stirred up such a controversy that it caused protests and riots. Most Hindus found the rough sport unfeminine and simply degrading, and there weren’t many people willing to oppose the social and religious prohibitions at that time. The southern state Kerala – India’s most dynamic state and the first to nearly eradicate illiteracy – became the only exception. It was there that a small group of female athletes, volleyball and basketball players, decided to box. Since 2001, the training centre near the Lal Bahadur stadium in Kollam has became a landmark for aspiring female boxers. This hub of athletic ability has produced a large portion of the national team. Although women’s boxing still isn’t recognized by the Olympics, it is one of the few sports in which India has excelled at an international level.

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