Dawn Punjab bureau / Jaipur : The determined ones always find their way and Indian Boxer Saweety Boora clearly establishes the fact. From playing Kabbadi to being the only girl in 2009 from her hometown (Hisar) who opted for boxing, to represent India internationally, Saweety has certainly come a long way. In a candid conversation on SportsTiger’s new interview series “Mission Gold”, she discusses how it all panned out.
Growing up being the only girl to have chosen boxing can be a bit overwhelming as everything seems just too tough to handle. But the undying passion for sports kept Saweety going. Though it was her father’s dream to see her as an engineer, she stood for what she loved and achieved great heights.
Before becoming a boxer, Saweety was a national level Kabaddi player. But her dad motivated her to take up boxing because of a very special reason. She laughed and shared the reason that led her to box and said, “The reason I chose boxing was because I used to hardly talk in school but every time things went south, I couldn’t handle it. I used to explain to them the situation first and when they spoke back, I couldn’t reply and told myself to keep calm and even after that, if they didn’t understand, I would just punch them then.”
After realizing her love for boxing, in 2009 she ended up at a trial in SAI and lost the first round against a trained boxer and her brother teased her by saying “Dikha diye usne din mai taare”. She then gathered her nerves and knocked out her opponent with just an uppercut punch and thus, began her ever-growing boxing career.
She remembered her first fight at the SAI trial and said, “That was my first ever fight and the coach told my brother and my uncle that I am going to reach great heights in the sport. After that, I played for the state in 15 days where I secured a gold medal and within 3 months, I represented nationally where I again secured a gold as I was really passionate about it. And then finally in 2011, I became an international boxer and secured gold again for the nation. In 2012, I entered the youth competition and secured gold and due to my extraordinary performance, they took me in the senior camp. I secured gold at the senior level nationally but I wasn’t given any international tournaments.”
But things took a different turn for her in 2014 when she was admitted to the hospital and the federation made an announcement that changed the entire course of her career. She said, “In 2014, I fell sick because of typhoid and had to get admitted. And at the time they announced that whoever becomes the National gold medalist, only they will go and represent at the world championship. My doctor advised me to rest but the love for the sport kept me going and I ran away from the hospital, took the train by running a sprint of 100m and fainted in the train. My parents told me to come back but I was determined to represent India and they blessed me and let me carry on.”
Following that, in the 5 day National tournament, Saweety fought against everyone and won even though she was barely able to move when she was away from the ring.
Remembering her journey to the podium at the 2014 world championship where Saweety grabbed a silver medal, she said, “At world championship, I had really tough opponents and they wanted to carry out trials for my weight category as they were sure that I wouldn’t win. But since the federation had already made the announcement, they couldn’t carry out the trial. So they decided not to take me or anyone in my weight category despite qualifying. Then on the last day, they decided to take me. And I reached the finals and got a silver medal for our country.”
Like most athletes, the pandemic has been difficult for the two-time Asian Championship medalist with the recent being a bronze in Dubai in the 2021 Asian Championships. She reminisced about her time practising alone and spoke about her preparation saying, “We practised at our homes for Asian Championship 2021, though the camp was organized it was only for Olympic qualified players. 5 girls attended the camp while 5 practised at their homes including me. We weren’t expecting our participation as to and fro flights were banned because of the pandemic. At the last moment, we got the permission and I won a bronze medal in the championship.”
Despite her achievements, the boxer from Hisar hasn’t had luck on her side as she was met with disappointment just before the Olympic qualifications this year. She even considered leaving boxing and returning to Kabaddi. She said, “I left the camp and came back because I wasn’t given a chance to participate in the Olympics qualifying. I came back home thinking that if I don’t even get a chance to participate in Olympics qualification what is the use of continuing with the sport? I have played at the world and Asian level and have taken everything. The only thing that I don’t have is an Olympic medal. I was even ready to take up kabaddi if this was the case.”
Even after the setback, she remains resolute and determined to represent India at the 2024 Paris Olympics and said, “I am someone who works day and night to achieve my dreams. I still have three more years to prepare for the quadrennial event and I hope to represent my nation in the next Olympics for sure.”
She stressed the fact that she is immensely proud of her colleagues who will be representing the country later this month. She also gave her best wishes and said, “Best wishes to the boxers who are going to represent India in the Tokyo Olympics from next month. This is the first time when 5 Indian boxers will contest quarter-final directly.”
While signing off she suggested the young women boxers should work towards their dreams relentlessly and not allow anyone to pull them back.