In February 2016, history was made by young Sofia Javed when she won a South Asian boxing championship (75kg category) held in India — thereby becoming the first person to do so in the female category and making her country proud by winning in the arch-rival neighbouring country. In the same games, Rukhsana Parveen also became the second Pakistani female athlete to win in the 60kg boxing category.
A Christian hailing from Peshawar, Sofia grew up in Yousafabad’s Father Colony locality where she is a local legend and source of pride for the residents. Unfortunately, even though it took immense hard work and sacrifice to reach the winning stage that year, Sofia was unable to continue her ride to glory due to a change of circumstances and lack of attention from several quarters.
After that historic victory, instead of improvement, things started deteriorating and becoming more difficult for her, explained Sofia in her humble Peshawar home.
The local boxing federation and coaches did not support her the way she had hoped, which resulted in a lack of ability to train further for future, bigger tournaments. Moreover, some pressing family issues forced away her attention from the sport she loved and excelled into domestic affairs.
Today, Sofia is en route to completing her Master’s degree and has gone back to the sport of her childhood and choice: Wushu (kick-boxing).
Once the pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed, she plans to become fit again and not only win Wushu championships for her country but also train other girls wishing to pursue the sport professionally.
She not only wants to teach other girls to excel in the sport they are passionate about but also how to navigate the various hurdles life throws at women wanting to break the glass ceiling.