At 22 years of age, Monique Suraci is a force to be reckoned with – a statement reinforced through her qualification for next year’s Paris Olympics.
In defeating New Zealand boxer Tasmyn Benny at the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands, Monique secured her ticket to Paris.
“I’m still wrapping my head around it,” says Monique.
“It hasn’t fully sunk in yet, but I’m not satisfied by qualifying; I want to win gold at the Olympics in Paris.”
Her coach, Gary Hamilton, is not surprised by her determination.
“Most gifted athletes are lazy because it comes easily to them. Monique works like she is not a gifted athlete, which is a dangerous combination.”
But this doesn’t mean it has been easy for Monique. On her way to qualifying, she has been forced to overcome disappointment along the way.
In the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics, there was injury followed by COVID-19, which limited qualifying opportunities. Missing out, it would appear, made her even more determined to qualify this time.
As Gary points out, her mental strength shone through in overcoming the setback.
“It was disappointing in the lead-up to Tokyo, but she is very mentally strong and kept going.”
For her part, Monique has well and truly put the past behind her.
“I think everything happens for a reason. I’m not fixated by the past.”
Her mind is very much set on next year’s Olympics. Qualifying was simply a hurdle that needed to be overcome.
Her success this year, though, in winning 13 out of 16 fights, including 13 international bouts, has put her on the radar of the world’s top fighters in her weight category.
But success this year hasn’t altered her mindset. She says, “I’ve always put myself as the underdog. Nothing changes”.
It won’t be easy, though, despite some experts ranking her as Australia’s top pound-for-pound Olympic boxer.
And next year, the eyes of the boxing world will be on Monique.
While it has the potential to suffocate some, Monique should thrive in the Olympic pressure cooker.
She’s shown incredible mental and physical strength in getting to this point. Stand in her way at your peril.
Original Article published by Tim Gavel on Riotact.