Asiad gold medalist Amit Panghal had trained bare hands for half a year

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]mit Panghal clinched the gold medal in the men’s 49kg boxing category, after defeating Olympic champion Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov 3-2 in a tough match to win the biggest battle of his career. Panghal’s tremendous footwork and smart boxing is a result of his dedication to the sport since he started boxing in 2006.

Since his father, Vijender Singh, owns just one acre of land where he tills wheat and millet, in the rohtak district of Haryana. Therefore the financial condition of the family was never healthy, for which Amit’s elder brother Ajay Panghal had to give up on his boxing dreams. The yield from their land was only enough to feed the family.

“Till 2011, our financial condition was very bad. I was also into boxing and was training under coach Anil Dhankar so that I could become an international boxer,” Ajay Panghal, Amit’s elder brother told TOI.

But Ajay had to quit boxing owing to his family’s financial crisis. He then joined the Indian Army in 2011 at the rank of a Naib, to ensure a steady flow of income. “But I made sure Amit didn’t quit boxing because I knew he had the potential to reach the top,” added Ajay.

Amit practised with bare hands for more than six months since he could not afford to buy new gloves when his older ones wore off. Ajay also said, “Proper diet is very important for a boxer’s growth, and that is something Amit always lacked. He still managed to defeat bigger and more formidable boxers in his teens. At times, he fought bouts on an empty stomach and won. Inside the ring, he has always been technically impressive.”

Amit is a junior commissioned officer (JCO) and is ranked as Naib Subedar with the Indian Army. His father now wants him to focus on getting an Olympic medal.

The best-ever medal haul at the 2018 Asian Games is a leap forward for Indian sport after the Commonwealth Games medal spurt.

(With inputs from Agencies)