Indian boxer Pooja Rani has said that winning the gold medal at the Asian Boxing Championships felt like a dream for her as this was the first "big medal" she had won in her career. Rani has also added that beating the reigning World Champion in the final gave her a lot of confidence.
It was a split verdict that went in favour of Indian pugilist Pooja Rani in the summit clash of women’s 81kg at the Asian Boxing Championships. The 28-year-old Haryana boxer managed to beat the World Champion Chinese boxer Wang Lina. Earlier in her career, she had won silver and bronze medals at the same event in 2012 and 2015 editions as well but according to her, this one was like a dream for her.
“Earlier, at the international level, I won gold at the South Asian Games. But that was not as big as this. I have won silvers and bronze at this level before. When it happened, it felt like a dream, something I had been looking forward to since I was a kid,” Pooja told TOI.
“It feels so good to hear the word ‘champion’ next to my name. On top of that, I beat the reigning world champion in the final. It gives me confidence.”
The women’s 81kg category is not a part of the Olympics and Rani doesn’t have a chance to represent the nation at the sporting extravaganza. She now aims to work with her coaches to come down to the Olympics category and make it to the event in Tokyo.
“Olympics has the 75-kg category and I used to compete in that category earlier. Now, I will work with my coaches to come down to the 75-kg category, and hope to qualify for the Olympics,” said the 28-year-old pugilist.
Speaking about the support for boxers in Haryana, she said, “You don’t see too many people from affluent backgrounds in a sport like boxing. People come here from lower middle-class background, and for them, a job and money is important. In this game, injuries are inevitable. So, it is important to secure your future. That’s something Haryana does for you.”
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