Vince Suraci was so determined to ensure his six daughters could protect themselves that he guided them into boxing.
Little did he know at the time that one of his daughters, Monique, would go on to become a champion in the sport.
“Mum and Dad started us at the PCYC so we could defend ourselves. All of the girls did it for years. I just stuck with it,” said Monique.
Monique was just six years of age when she started boxing. By 10, she had her first competition.
In the years since the sport has taken her around Australia and across the globe.
And there’s been plenty of success along the way, including gold at the 2018 Oceania Youth Championships.
Now, at 22, Monique is on the verge of achieving a lifelong dream of competing for Australia at the Paris Olympics next year.
All she needs to do is win the 50-kilogram weight class category at the Pacific Games, which will be held in November in the Solomon Islands.
This is all easier said than done. The sport among the Pacific nations is very strong, but Monique has been close before, which amplifies her determination to succeed.
“In the lead-up to the 2020 trials, I hurt my ribs, and there was the disruption caused by COVID.”
This time around, under the tutelage of two-time British kickboxing title-holder Garry Hamilton at the Stockade Training Centre in Fyshwick, nothing is left to chance.
“It’s been an unreal journey with Garry. He pushes me hard, he kills me at training, he knows what it takes.”
Those daily training sessions sometimes resemble three hours of torture, but Monique is working to a plan: “I am leaving shortly for Italy and Germany for training camps and fights in the lead-up to the Pacific Games.”
It’s the perfect build-up to the most important couple of months of her career, and Monique is focused.
“You have to be very disciplined. I don’t go out at all, and there are plenty of sacrifices. There is a lot of travel. You have to carefully watch what you eat and drink.”
As well as the physical demands, there is mental strength required to be a champion.
Monique believes she has physical strength from her dad and mental stamina from her mother, Rosa. It has proven to be the perfect combination.
“Mum and Dad have been very supportive. They are very proud of what I have been able to achieve.”
And that pride will be through the roof if Monique qualifies for the Olympics in Paris next year.
Original Article published by Tim Gavel on Riotact.