It’s a sport she took up primarily for anger management but India’s lone medallist at the recently concluded AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, Sonia Lather, says she was quite sure of achieving big things in the ring even though the system was never too supportive.
Sonia clinched a silver medal in the featherweight 57kg category in the prestigious event, where established names such as M C Mary Kom and L Sarita Devi among others bowed out early on.
The 24-year-old from Jind in Haryana said she is glad to have outdone the names she grew up admiring but she expected more from herself.
“I am actually slightly disappointed, I should have got the gold. I lost a very close final bout (1-2 to top seed Alessia Mesiano of Italy). But yes, it’s good to be part of a team which had such big names and then get a medal,” Sonia said in an interview.
Speaking excitedly about her journey so far, Sonia said she took up boxing to manage her anger, an idea that was also encouraged by her family.
“None from my family is a boxer or athlete and I was initially a kabaddi player but then I moved to boxing because I wanted to manage my anger. Besides, there is more glory in an individual sport than in a team sport. My father is a sports fan and he supported me,” she said with a giggle.
“I am short-tempered but boxing helps me handle that. I started in 2008 and this medal is the biggest of my career so far,” she added.
Also a silver-medallist at the 2012 Asian Championships, Sonia said she could have achieved a lot more after that had it not been for “politics“.
“Our system is heavily politicised. Selection is not always fair. Sometimes I felt I was ignored despite doing well in trials. For three years, I did not get any chance, it was frustrating. But then I am not the one to give up, never,” she asserted. “Instead of running away I like to fight and I did just that. I gave it my all and eventually things worked out. So, I am happy.”
Sonia said she would now be looking to make the cut in the Olympic categories. “I have tried for 60kg in the past but if AIBA decides to include 54kg in the Olympics, it would be good for me.”
Asked if there is any boxer, national or international, she has idolised, Sonia quipped, “Myself! I consider myself my idol. To tell the truth, I didn’t even know what idol meant when I first heard this word. When somebody explained the meaning to me, the only answer I could think of was ‘myself’,” she signed off.
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