Unconditional support from kabaddi star husband, cricketer turned sparring-mate brother — How Saweety became World Champion
“I am an Arjuna Awardee, World Champion, and Asian Champion, but I have never felt better," kabaddi star and World Champion Saweety Boora's husband Deepak Hooda told The Bridge.
New Delhi: When Saweety Boora was indulged in an intense 81kg final bout against China's Wang Lina at the 2023 Women's World Boxing Championships, Indian national kabaddi player Deepak Hooda was seen on his toes constantly cheering for her.
Even as Saweety took a lap of honour with the Indian flag after being crowned the World Champion, Hooda - her husband, was still processing the emotions on the sidelines.
“I am an Arjuna Awardee, World Champion, and Asian Champion, but I have never felt better. I always have goosebumps while watching her play in the bouts," Deepak Hooda told The Bridge after Saweety's victory.
Known as the power couple, PKL superstar Deepak and now World Champion Saweety Boora tied the knot in July last year. The two, however, have been constant pillar of support for each other since before that helping each other bounce back from their career setbacks.
Underlining the importance of her husband's support, Saweety said, "He is always more excited for my bouts than his game. He has always pushed me to train better and work hard. When the last round was going he was signaling to me that these three minutes are important and to go for it. This motivated me to keep going."
“Being an athlete myself, I have been in these situations before and I know how important those last moments are. She was fighting for the World Championship and those three minutes are as crucial as they can be. I am feeling very proud and she will not stop here. The Olympics is what we are aiming for," the Kabaddi World Champion said.
The medal on Saturday brought an end to Saweety's 9-year long wait for the World Championships tile. Back in 2014, she had to settle for a silver after losing in the final.
“This is my dream come true. I saw everyone and their faces were filled with joy. I think that is the best thing for me, making everyone proud," quipped the 81-kg World Champion.
Saweety credited her family for their support throughout the time she was struggling.
“My sister is also a boxer, she has always helped me with my training. My husband has always been around to push me. Be it any time of the day, he is always ready to help me. My brother is a cricketer, but when I needed him he became my sparring partner. Such small contributions have made me a world champion today," said Saweety.
With the World Championships gold medal in her kitty, Saweety is aiming for the Olympics podium now. However, she will have to shift her weight category, since 81kg is not a part of the 2024 Paris Games.
“I am thinking of playing in the 75kg category as my current category won’t be there in Paris 2024. Every player has a dream of representing their nation at the Olympics, so I will surely do my best to fulfill this dream," Saweety concluded.
If Saweety indeed moves back to the 75kg weight division, she will have to fight it out against the 2020 Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain, who has also recently moved up to the 75kg section since her usual 69kg will also be missing from the 2024 Paris Olympics.