Former world boxing champion Ria Ramnarine is calling on the guardians of boxing to take note of the absence of female boxers in the country. “After the foundation set by myself and the late Giselle Salandy, it is unfortunate that there is a significant lack of women in the sport at this time.
Even the national female team is not encouraged to continue in the pursuit of their boxing goals simply because of the lack of focus and opportunities provided by the sport’s custodians”, said Ramnarine. Currently Ramnarine is the only female 3-Star AIBA certified coach in the region and has indicated that she is disappointed that women’s boxing seem to be a “thing of the past” in T&T.
Except for the National Championships and one local boxing card which featured the female boxers, there was no other local competition for the women.
Ramnarine noted that the few women in the sport lost interest because of the lack of incentive. “All the girls wanted was to be able to put their training to use. To box. To compete. Some of them spent time at the national camp but returned to their homes and jobs after some months when it was evident that they were not being given the chance to compete. For example, Chimere Taylor has the skill to succeed on the international level, but without match practice, she gains no experience and as such, it is difficult for her to capitalise on her skills”.
There are so few women in the sport in T&T that regional opponents have to be flown in which makes it costly to promote the female bouts. However, Ramnarine believes that with the inclusion of women boxing in the Olympics, the efforts should be made to give the women boxers a chance to ply their trade. She indicated that this year they failed at an international level but attributed this to the lack of experience.
Having walked the road, albeit that of a professional, Ramnarine said it was very difficult to maintain a high level of skill, commitment and motivation without competition. She has called specifically on Boxu Potts to explain why there has been no focus on the female boxers of late. Ramnarine went on to say, “Mr Potts has been one of the promoters of women’s boxing and has been recognized internationally for his efforts.
I am asking why he is now absent from lobbying for women’s boxing. He is the special advisor to the Boxing Board of Control and I would have thought that he would have simply advised that the women boxers should be focused on as well. Having promoted Salandy and myself with great success, and although he is not actually a promoter nowadays, I think his position would allow him to properly advise the Board that we have a chance at Olympic qualification if the women are given the necessary competitions and tools to prepare”.
Noting the 2014 success of the Michael Alexander in the amateur circuit and Prince-Lee Isidore on the pro scene, Ramnarine believes that given the chance, the women can succeed also. Having been afforded the opportunity by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee to be part of the International Coaching Enrichment Certification Program in the USA, Ramnarine indicated that she is currently working on a program to encourage more young women and girls to participate in the sport as part of her thesis. “Boxing on the whole has been in a slumber. Only the likes of Alexander and Isidore have given a shimmer of hope and they too need assistance to continue their success. I sincerely hope that the guardians of the sport can wake up before we lose all hope”, ended Ramnarine.