Mumbai: Woman boxer Sarita Devi today said she exceeded her own expectations by winning a silver medal in the just-concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as she had made a comeback to the sport after a gap of two years.
"I did better than my expectation because before the Commonwealth Games I thought I wouldn't be able to play as my body wasn't used to it (rigour) after a two-year break. I somehow started training after the trial. I went to Glasgow and I got the confidence," she said.
The Manipuri boxer was speaking at a media interaction organised by Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), the sports foundation which supports her. The 29-year-old fighter also created a history of sorts by becoming the first Indian woman boxer to get a medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Sarita, who has previously won one gold and two bronze medals at the World Championships and five gold medals at the Asian Championships, said she was confused with the new scoring system. "The scoring system has changed and, in between, we were mentally disturbed. With the rule change, we didn't get
much training. You get confused sometimes in between the bouts.
"Earlier, if you had a lead in the first round then you could play comfortably in the other rounds. Now it is not the case. Even if you lead in the first round, you have to have the lead till the last round. So I was confused a little bit," she said.
"Even if you lead in three rounds, you can't take the next bout lightly. You have to play with the same aggression throughout." Sarita had injured her right hand 10 days prior to the Games and thanked OGQ physio Kiran C for his help. "Kiran took time off for me, despite being the physio for the badminton team, and thanks to him I could reach the final."
Sarita felt she could have done better in the final had she got more time to recover after her semi-final bout. "After playing four bouts continuously I didn't get time to recover for the final. After the semi-final bout, it was midnight and then the next day I had to get up at 6 am for training and if you have a bout early in the afternoon then you don't get time for recovery.
"If I had got time till evening, I could have hit better.After the first round, my body didn't allow it. My legs were not moving much and I was feeling tightness in my legs," the pugilist maintained. Sarita said she has gained a lot of confidence after her medal-winning display at the Commonwealth Games.
"This was my first competition after the delivery (of child) and the opponent was also tough. But I have got the confidence now. If, after becoming a mother, I could reach till the finals, then I can do a lot." After narrowly missing a spot to compete in the London Olympics, Sarita is now focusing on the 2016 Rio Olympics. "I am targeting these two seasons. Last time I didn't get chance in the Olympics. Even after working so hard, I didn't get it. I didn't get support from the home team."
"The (boxing) Federation could have given support at that time, because I was number one in Asia and India. So if the second number or the third number got a chance then I should have too. Olympic was my dream to play. Rio (Olympics) is my final target. After that I will decide whether to play or not," she said.
Sarita felt the new rule for men to play without head gear is dangerous. "The men have to remove the head gear and we saw in the competition that there were many injuries. I don't think it is safe to remove the head gear. They have continuously played bouts without head gear, so I feel it is dangerous."