CHENNAI: Saweety Boora has fond recollections of her run during the 2014 World Championships. Making her maiden bow, the then 21-year-old pugilist had surprised many by clinching silver in Jeju (Korea). She had gained more than she had hoped for. “When I took part in the Worlds for the first time, I had entered the tournament knowing that I had nothing to lose. I knew that I could only gain from that experience.”
Fast forward to 2019, and Boora is gearing up for another shot at Worlds glory, her fourth after 2014, 2016 and 2018. With years of experience, she is a more-rounded boxer, ready for the big event in Russia from October 3 to 13. This, especially after literally fighting her way into the team through trials. In recent times, with stiff competition and other factors, she had endured a tough phase. While youngsters stepped up to the plate at the last Worlds in New Delhi, she had made a quick exit. Her drop in form reflected in her national rankings. She had entered the recent selection trials as No 4 in the 75kg category.
But those years of grind have made her wiser. Also, one can sense that her tough upbringing in rural Hisar — her father, a former national-level basketball player, is into farming — has shaped her into a real fighter. That quality, ingrained in her mental makeup, shows when she breaks down her recent performances. A god-fearing woman, Boora conceded that she had plenty of shortcomings, and that she has been focussing on eliminating those.
Other factors like competition and pressure to perform had also affected her game. “We take part in various competitions throughout the year. One can’t afford to take things lightly in those events. So one has to give her 100 per cent. To stay at peak throughout the year is near impossible.”
With the sport under the microscope, especially with the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, pressure takes a big toll on athletes. The boxer, who had won bronze at President’s Cup in July, had found it difficult to cope with the rigours of the sport. “After a certain point, your body feels the fatigue. It is also mentally draining. If we don’t perform, there’s a high chance that we will be demoted and dropped from the core team. We may have the will to fight on, but the body can’t do the same. So that’s what I felt,” she explained.
But now, she is in a position of strength. Having beaten odds to earn her way into the Worlds team, Boora has a firm head on her shoulders. She is aware that her job is far from over. “Just to be on top in India is nothing. There’s a lot to do. I have been working diligently to ensure that I can give my best at the elite level.”
Her honest attitude and will to put in the hard yards could take her one step closer to her Olympic dream come October in Russia.