Back in the reckoning after an injury-forced sabbatical of nearly two years, 2006 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist boxer Akhil Kumar said his coaches and support staff helped him fight through the slow and painful grind of rehabilitation.
Akhil was picked in a 42-strong group of probables for the upcoming CWG, scheduled to be held in Glasgow in July-August. The final squad of seven would be picked after another round of trials between May 21 and 23 in Patiala.
The 33-year-old maverick, who made his name in the bantamweight division, has moved up a rung to 60kg now and is hoping to make the final squad for Glasgow.
“It was quite difficult to be very honest. Missing out on the Olympics had a negative impact on me, but then life is all about moving ahead and fighting on. I have been extremely lucky to have some very positive people all around me and they have helped me work even harder than before,” Akhil said.
“I cannot thank my coaches enough. Chief coach G.S. Sandhu and Cuban coach BI Fernandez have shown immense faith in my ability and backed me which has helped me push my limits further ahead,” he added.
Akhil was also all praise for assistant coaches Jaidev Bisht and Amrik Singh.
“Come to think of it, the two played a massive role in keeping me fit and focussed. The kind of dedication they put in towards my comeback has been remarkable and surely kept me pumped up and motivated all the time,” said the boxer, who spent the better part of the last two years battling niggles.
“I also want to thank Dr Sanjay Vats from Delhi, who has been working on getting my body back into the best possible shape. He has played a tremendous role in my rehabilitation process and I don’t think I can thank him enough.
“Also the Sports Authority of India and Haryana Police have been patient as well as benevolent in the process of my recovery. I want to thank them as well for their help to aid my efforts at all times,” he added.
Akhil feels the way the trials were conducted was a revelation and the discipline and management played a major role in getting things moving for all the boxers.
“The trials, starting with the medical, to the weighing-in and from there on to the bouts, everything worked like clock-work. It was astonishing to see the discipline and punctuality that was maintained throughout and I felt so many other sports could learn how to conduct things from a setup like this.
“It was absolutely fascinating to see and the entire organisational setup deserves tremendous plaudits for being spot-on with everything and the trials had a completion like feel to it which was crucial as well,” said Akhil.
The Haryana-lad has been a World Cup bronze-medallist besides being Olympic quarterfinalist. He has also been an Asian medallist besides a Commonwealth champion.