For former World boxing champion K.C. Lekha, the long wait is finally over.
The 2006 world champion had craved for recognition and applied for Arjuna and Dhyan Chand Awards since her retirement in 2013. But every year, Lekha was left frustrated and disappointed when she found her name missing from the list of awardees.
She is finally relieved after being conferred the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement this year.
“Better late than never. It is a great relief as I had given up all hope. I missed out on the Arjuna Award when I was active. It was painful to see boxers whom I had defeated being given the Arjuna Award ahead of me.
“I dedicate this award to my coaches, parents and all those who supported me in my career,” said the G.V. Raja awardee, who is also Kerala’s only world champion in any discipline till date.
The former athlete-turned-boxer is sad that Kerala, which once dominated women’s boxing, is now struggling to win a medal in the National championship.
Lekha blamed the present day boxers of lacking dedication and is ready to groom and train youngsters if given an opportunity.
“I think the present lot lack dedication despite being given the best of facilities and training. They don’t have the will to work hard and instead, look for short-term gains. We were more dedicated and had to fight many battles both on and off the ring.
“I have a diploma in coaching and want to give something back to this sports. I want to start an academy in Kannur and my dream is to produce champions. But my present job doesn’t offer me any time or opportunities to chase that dream,” said Lekha.