Chandigarh-based Dr Sonia Kanwar Jarial always dreamed to officiate as a referee on international platforms. Dr Kanwar, who also works as an assistant professor at a college in the city, has officiated as a referee for the past eighteen years at various competitions in India and overseas, however, her dream of making it to the Olympics as a referee was always in the checklist. As a former Judo player and boxer, she always held a kept interest in sports and her jump towards becoming a referee stemmed from that. While she cleared the IBA 1-star exam in 2004, her quest to clear this year’s 3-star exam bore fruit when she learned she had passed it and qualified for the biggest international forums.
44-year-old Dr Sonia Kanwar Jarial passed the IBA 3-star referee and judge examination and has now become the first Indian woman referee who is eligible to officiate at the Olympics and World Championships.
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Referee Dr Sonia Kanwar
Dr Kanwar learned the 1 Star IBA rating for referees and judges in 2004. She first officiated in the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in Mongolia and there was no looking back ever since. In 2018, she cleared the 2-Star rating and started officiating at the international level. In the last eighteen years, she has officiated in several tournaments including the 2008 Asian Women’s Championships, and the 2019 Australian Open Boxing Championship. She also officiated the very significant 2021 Asian Youth and Junior Championship and this year’s Florida Cup. Her contribution towards officiating at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games trials for the Indian squad has been immense.
Dr Kanwar heard of this great news on Thursday after she recited an email from the International Boxing Association (IBA). The email mentioned that she had passed her IBA 3-star referee and judge examination which she had appeared for last month in Slovenia. This feat makes her eligible for the highest international competitions like the World Championships and the Olympics.
While making a statement in the media, Dr Kanwar mentioned how her spouse Rajiv Jarial and children Naisha and Virajveer have been her constant support during her two-decade-long professional career, and with her aiming even for higher feats, their backing is what keeps her going
“It has been a long journey as a referee in boxing. I have been waiting for the results news ever since I appeared for the exam in Slovenia about the result. My kids are always thrilled to see me officiate in national and international competitions and the whole family was waiting to see me achieve the 3-Star IBA rating,” she said. Dr. Kanwar recently officiated in Khelo India Youth Games. She feels her most significant bouts were those which involved six-time world champion Mary Kom apart from the current world champion Nikhat Zareen.