Phenomenal boxer and University of Sydney elite athlete, Anja Stridsman, won gold at the Commonwealth Games despite her debilitating knee injury.
In September 2017, Stridsman tore her anterior cruciate ligament while competing in Poland. In spite of her knee giving out, she continued on with the fight until a doctor told her she should stop.
She bravely went on to compete for the next month without her ACL, and even won the national title in Sydney, which qualified her for the Commonwealth games.
“I knew going in to the fights that I couldn’t afford to worry about my knee though, I had to step back into that ring and commit,” Stridsman recalls. “The first fight gave me a lot of confidence in that I knew that my body had adapted to its limitation and I could actually do this.”
With this accomplishment behind her, surgery was the next step.
Stridsman had the unique allograft procedure done which meant having a corpse’s Achilles tendon put in place of her ACL.
With her surgery being only five months before the Commonwealth Games, Stridsman had a short time to recover and get back to a training schedule.
Anja says that she did not let her injury set her back in her training, as she found ways to adapt to her rigorous schedule, which included training three times a day.
She also noted that she put a lot of trust into her coach and others around her as they motivated her that her strength would come back with time.
“I think mainly [my injury] has given me a renewed confidence in myself and my ability. It gave me the assurance in myself as an athlete.”
All of her tenacity and perseverance paid off as went on to compete strongly in the Commonwealth Games this April, where she won the gold in 60kg division.
This victory made her the second Australian woman boxer to win the gold at the Commonwealth Games, the other being Shelley Watts in 2014.
Despite her immense obstacle creating her to fear that she would not be able to compete, Stridsman persevered and came out on top.
“I think anything is possible if you are willing to work hard for it.”
With this extraordinary accomplishment behind her, Anja is now back at the University of Sydney where she is studying a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Economics majoring in Government and International Relations, European Studies and Environment and Resource Economics.
Congratulations to Anja and the other Sydney Uni athletes who represented Australia at this year’s Commonwealth Games.