The Boxing Beauty

February 6, 2013 , by Bibek Bhandari, Leave your thoughts
The Boxing Beauty » My Dreams Mag
In a society where sports isn’t seen as a profession, and women left behind, Dina Gurung is setting an example. She eats, drinks and sleeps sports keeping her dream intact—to win the boxing world championship for Nepal.

In seven days, Dina Gurung had lost six kilograms.

Though she loves eating, the 30-year-old was compelled to be on a strict diet. She had to drop her weight from 75 kgs to 69 kgs to compete in the welterweight category.

Just days before, Gurung’s competitor pulled out from the K1 and White Collar Boxing Match at Aldershot, her only choice was to fight Alice Glasspool in the welterweight category.

Her mother was concerned – Gurung wasn’t binging on her regular diet and was investing a lot of energy practising.

“I was worried,” says a mother who at first place didn’t prefer her daughter boxing. Like most Nepalese parents, she wanted her daughter to have a “real career.”

But on Oct. 13, 2012, when Dil Maya Gurung saw her daughter compete for the first time at the Princess Hall in Aldershot, she put aside her insecurities and sat along with the entire Gurung family to cheer and support her champ.

In a close call, Dina won the match by 10-9, 10-9, 9-10.

“I was scared at first,” says the mother as she saw her daughter being punched in the face. “Last time she came home with blue eyes.”

While her mother wasn’t supportive of Dina’s decision to dedicate her future to sports, her father and two sisters were always behind her. Though her parents were, and are, liberal, like most Nepalese parents, sport was looked as a pastime and not a profession.


A daughter of a British Gurkha personnel, who himself boxed as a young man, Dina was always a sports freak. While her family moved from Nepal to Hong Kong and then to the UK, Dina always found her solace and strength through sports.

While in Hong Kong, Dina played for her school and later the under-15 national team. For international matches, she flew to Darwin and Los Angeles.

When the family moved to the UK, Dina continued to devote herself to hockey. But as her father was on duty and her mother couldn’t drive her, it became difficult for the young sports enthusiast to attend practises and trainings.

But that was only for a short time. While doing her A Levels, she played hockey for the Six Foam College in Farnborough, winning the college’s Sportswomen of the Year in 1998.  Meanwhile, she also opted for subjects that correlated to sports—she took physical education, psychology and biology during her A Levels.

However, her mother resented. Dil Maya didn’t think this could translate it to a career in Nepal.

But Dina rebelled too.

“I’m going to study this or not study at all,” she recalls telling her mother.

Later, she took another giant step deciding to major in Sports Science at Kingston University.

But as her elder sister Leena tries and recapture growing up with Dina, she says Dina was never the extrovert one.

Leena describes her sister as “shy, quiet and a slow learner who was prone to bullying.”

“I was the bossy one, and she always followed me,” Leena laughs.

However, the elder sister says that Dina was always interested in sports.

“Though she was a bit slow in studies, she excelled in sports,” Leena says.

And as Dina has excelled in hockey, she is now slowly shifting to boxing, trying to excel in her newfound passion and represent Nepal for the World Championship in 2014. Unfortunately, due to the age limit, she will not be able to participate in the 2016 Olympics.


Dina took up boxing because she was always interested in combat sports. Also it was in her DNA— her father and grandfather  were both boxers.

For about six years, she learned Muay Thai. Since there were no women, Dina practised and fought with men. It was only after she learned that the game was being would be introduced in the Olympics for the first time in 2012 that Dina decided to go for it.

But with only months of training, she didn’t qualify at the women’s world boxing championships in Qinhuangdao, China, which would determine her place for representing Nepal at the London 2012 games. She had fought in the 67 kgs middleweight category.

“Boxing comes from experience,” Dina says stating that she vies to take a notch up for the 2014 championship.

Coming to see his daughter fight for the first time, Dina’s father Lal Bahadur sat proudly with his wife. At home, the father and daughter talk and watch boxing matches on TV. And having played himself, Lal Bahadur says he tries and share his experiences with Dina.

“But I can’t tell her what to do and how to play,” he says. “The only thing I can say is you have to be dedicated, motivated and need a lot of stamina to succeed.”

As it seems Dina possesses all those qualities.

Fitness, she says, is her strength. She notes that she is committed herself into a long-term relationship with the game.

In order to keep fit, she has a fixed training regimen, which includes early mornings, evenings and a fight every Sunday at the local club. Meanwhile, she also utilises her sports experience and also her education, training children in the community. She is also the hockey coach for Sixth Foam College in Farnborough.

“It’s crazy,” Dina says, adding, “But it shows what I can do if I take the challenges.”


After seeing the first women’s boxing match during the London Olympics, Dil Bahadur was “inspired and motivated” to come see his daughter box for the first time.

Though the parents admitted they were a little nervous, they sat throughout the entire two-hour fight session, seeing their daughter picking up her winning trophy.

Leena along with Dina’s friends were a little worried though. Dina weight loss along with heavy practise was a concern.

But despite everything, Sam Real, who trained with Dina and was cheering for her from the third row, lauded her performance.

“She looked really sharp,” Real says.

Analysing the fight he adds, “She put so much into the first and second round that she looked a little tired in the last round. The only thing I would say is that she could have been a little more aggressive when she was catching up with the jab.”

Dina herself realised that she was feeling a bit tired.

“I was disappointed with myself,” Dina says after the match. “I thought fitness was my strength but I couldn’t fight the way I wanted to because I had to lose weight in a short time.”

“I think I had a crap preparation,” she smiles.


Inside the boxing ring, Dina looks fierce. She looks strong, focused and confident. Also, she looks unapproachable.

But outside of the ring, she emerges as the girl next-door, casually dressed with her reading glasses on.

One of her closes friends, Shirah Real, says Dina has two sides to her personality.

“She is a very strong women and physically powerful,” Shirah says. “But at the same time, she is very spiritual and has a calm side. She sends poems on my birthday every year.”

Though quite and unassuming, according to her elder sister, the sports she plays have helped her to come out of the shell.

“I just want her to achieve as much as she can—she is so passionate and dedicated,” Leena says.

Having played 11 matches so far—9 boxing and 2 Muay Thai matches—Dina has had a draw, lost one and won two matches in the 65 kgs category.

As she eyes to represent Nepal in the World Championship, Dina’s friend and family has her back. She doesn’t have to sneak out for a practise or rebel.

Posing for a photograph after the match with her trophy and family, Dina stood next to her mother.

There was a proud family. After all, Dina’s determination wasn’t defeated.

To have her family by her side, celebrating her victory, Dina says, “My mother hated boxing, and I didn’t want her to come support me hating the game. I didn’t know how she would react to me being hit. But now that’s over, I think she is ready to see me fight.”

Photo: Shree Kumar KC

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