Pooja RANI

印度 IND


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Pooja RANI

From defying her father to pursuing her dreams of becoming an Olympian, Pooja Rani’s journey has been a long and challenging one.

Born in Bhiwani, Haryana – often dubbed as the cradle of boxing in India – Pooja Rani was blessed with easy access to good coaching and training facilities. But there was a hitch.

Pooja Rani’s father was firmly against his daughter becoming a boxer. "Acche bacche boxing nahin khelte (good children don't play boxing),” Pooja Rani remembers her father’s loud and clear warnings.

Fate, though, had its own plans. Winning a silver medal at an inter-college boxing tournament, where she participated only by chance, sparked Pooja Rani’s passion for boxing and the drive was strong enough for her to risk daddy’s wrath.

Pooja ended up joining the famous Hawa Singh Boxing Academy in her town and trained in secret.

During the initial days, Pooja Rani would hide the injuries suffered during bouts by staying over at her coach’s house while her parents thought she was at her friends’ place.

The cat-and-mouse game, though, would only last so long. Pooja Rani’s father, then a Haryana Police sub-inspector, caught wind of his daughter’s ‘clandestine’ operations and decided to crack down.

With her boxing future hanging by a thread, Sanjay Kumar Sheoran – Pooja Rani’s coach – intervened. Sheoran’s plea to Pooja Rani’s father earned her a short window to prove her worth and the Haryana puncher grabbed her chance with both hands.

A silver medal at the 2009 national youth boxing championships changed the script. Not only did it convince Pooja Rani’s father of her potential but also turned him into one of her biggest supporters.

Now with her father’s approval, Pooja Rani steamed ahead.

After claiming bronze and silver at the 2010 and 2011 senior nationals, she became the national champion for the first time in 2012. The same year also saw her win her first major international medal – a silver at the Asian boxing championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia in the 75kg category.

Pooja Rani participated at her maiden world championships in 2012 but lost to US legend Claressa Shields in the first round. She also made her Commonwealth Games debut in 2014 but suffered a Round of 16 exit after a loss to former world champion Savannah Marshall of Britain.

However, the Indian boxer bounced right back, winning the bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games. The following year, Pooja Rani added an Asian championship bronze to her kitty at Wulanchabu, China, building up good momentum ahead of Rio 2016.

Pooja Rani’s Rio qualification campaign, though, fell short as she lost to Savannah Marshall again in the second round of the 2016 world championships.

As the year progressed, things only got worse for the Indian boxer as she suffered serious burns to her hands while bursting firecrackers during Diwali. While recovering, Pooja Rani dislocated her shoulder during a sparring session and had to undergo surgery.

On the back of the double setback, Pooja Rani admits she knew that her boxing career was at crossroads. But she soon bounced back.

At the 2019 Asian championships in Bangkok, Pooja Rani won the 81kg gold after beating 2018 world champion Wang Lina of China. Later in the year, she won the gold medal at an Olympic test event.

Riding the momentum, Pooja Rani qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in April 2020 in the 75kg category after reaching the semi-finals of the Asian Olympic qualifiers in Amman, Jordan.

She beat Thailand’s Pornnipa Chutee in the quarter-finals on Women’s Day to punch her Tokyo ticket.

While the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the global sporting calendar just after her Tokyo qualification, the hiatus hardly impacted Pooja Rani’s momentum heading into the Summer Games.

She retained her Asian crown, beating Mavluda Movlonova of Uzbekistan in the gold medal bout at the 2021 Asian championships in Dubai.

Pooja Rani headed to Tokyo as the Asian champion and defeated Ichrak Chaib of Algeria with ease in the opening bout.t

However, the Indian boxer’s campaign ended in the quarter-finals as she went down to Li Qian of China, the Rio 2016 bronze medallist.

Pooja works as an Income Tax officer in the Haryana government.

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赛果 赛事 项目


Women's Middle (69-75kg)
Women's Middle (69-75kg) Boxing