Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): From home to boxing ring, life for Sonia Lather has never been smooth. That roughness has taught her how to handle the most difficult situation in the boxing ring. It also taught her how to deal a severe blow to her opponent and how to remain calm in an adverse situation. Sonia is in Bhopal to take part in the 6th Elite Women’s National Boxing Championship. In an interview with Free Press, Sonia speaks about her indifference to the sorrows and joys of life. Excerpts
Is Haryana still dominant in sports, particularly boxing?
Initially, boxing was only popular in Haryana, Punjab, and North-East. But now athletes from every state are here, and they are performing brilliantly. But I guess Haryana athletes are still very powerful.
Have you ever been afraid of increasing competition?
I have never been afraid of competitions, my coaches call me tiger. Better competitors help me understand myself.
Many people consider you an icon of women's empowerment. What’s your take?
In my village, whenever a girl is born, I give her Rs 500 in an envelope. When it is boy, I give him only Rs 5. This is because I know that when a girl is born, no one gives money to her, and I am totally against it.
What are your views on India’s medal culture?
I believe that whenever an athlete wins something, we give them far too much, so much that it is sometimes difficult for the athlete to digest all of it, which also impacts their performance. An athlete should be supported throughout, not just after winning a medal.
How do you manage stress?
I have never been stressed in my life. I don’t know why, but I am always very neutral. When I win, or even when I lose, my reaction is always the same, which is why I am never stressed. It is easy to move on from failure and success when you are neutral.
What is the one thing that not many people know about you?
Till now, I have never tried any of the fast food, any soft drink. I eat simple, home-cooked food. I am very serious about it. I have no cheat days, cheat meals, nothing.
Any message for the youth?
Don’t be greedy and work hard, everything else will follow. Be neutral. People say hard work is the key to success. No. Hard work, along with neutrality in every situation, is the key to success. There is nothing like a last chance, life gives many chances.
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