Tough road to Olympics awaits Panghal

The Asian games gold medallist forced to compete in 52kg after scrapping of 49kg

September 06, 2018 08:22 pm | Updated 08:26 pm IST - NEW DELHI/KOLKATA

On the job, already! Needing to put on a few kilos, Amit Panghal says he is game for the challenge.

On the job, already! Needing to put on a few kilos, Amit Panghal says he is game for the challenge.

Asian Games gold medallist boxer Amit Panghal has to take a tough road to realise his Olympics dream.

Because of International Olympic Committee’s decision to drop two men’s weights, including 49kg, from the 2020 Olympics, Panghal needs to put on a few kilos to fit into the 52kg class for the Tokyo Games.

The 22-year-old accepts the challenge. “I know it will be challenging but I am up for it. If 49kg has to be removed, then be it. I will concentrate on 52kg. Very soon I will begin my preparation,” Panghal told The Hindu .

Swift footwork

Known for his swift footwork inside the ring, Panghal needs to concentrate on some other areas too to make 52kg his home. “The 52kg demands greater endurance and power. I have to work on improving both. Also, I need to control my game. There are some technical adjustments to be made, but I am confident.”

Chief performance director Santiago Nieva said Panghal would be out of his comfort zone in 52kg. “Every boxer has to reduce his weight. Here it is different. Amit will have to gain weight. The 49kg class suited him because he is small in height and size. He moves quicker and his agility is at best in 49. In 52, he will obviously face bigger and stronger opponents. That will add to the pressure.”

Looking at the future, Panghal trusted the Swedish’s methods. “Santiago is a wonderful coach. He has understood the Indian culture well and how to get the best out of the boxers.”

Santiago returned the compliments, showering praise on Panghal for his fine showing in the Asian Games.

Amazing show

“It was an amazing show because he outclassed North Korean (Jang Ryong Kim) and Mongolian (Enkhmandakh Kharkhuu) opponents. Overall, he was marvellous. He had a difficult semifinal (against Filipino Carlo Paalam), who was a very strong opponent. Actually, he had gone into the bout with a late warm-up. It was only in the last 30 seconds that he got a grip on the contest.

“The final was against an opponent (Uzbek Hasanboy Dusmatov) he had lost twice to. He was probably the biggest star of the tournament because of his Olympic title. But Amit secured the bout with his spirited boxing.”

According to Santiago, India must stick to some long-term plans and improve upon infrastructure and competition system to nurture its talented boxers.

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