Army man Amit Panghal wants to win an Olympic gold medal for the nation and is training hard for it (Exclusive)

Amit Panghal (right) has his eyes on the Olympic gold medal
Amit Panghal (right) has his eyes on the Olympic gold medal
Shiv Dhawan

"Those who dream make history", this is the quote which inspires Indian boxer Amit Panghal as he prepares for the qualifiers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Amit started boxing at the age of 11 when his elder brother inspired him to take up the sport in 2007. Thirteen years down the line, the boxer from Haryana has a dream to procure a gold medal for his country in the Olympic Games which are to be held in Tokyo later this year.

Ever since he took his first step in the ring, Amit hasn't looked back and has won plenty of laurels owing to his relentless hardwork. In 2009, he won a gold medal in the sub-junior category in the national championship. Three years later, he converted the national medal into an international medal as he bagged a gold medal in Sri Lanka in 2012. His first stint in senior level boxing was in 2016 where he bagged his first gold in the senior category in the national championship.

Apart from boxing, the 24-year-old is currently serving in the Indian army as a Junior Commisioned Officer (JCO). During his initial boxing days, Amit used to borrow boxing gloves from his friends as a pair of gloves would cost around ₹10,000 and he didn't have the money to purchase his own gloves. At times, he would tell coaches to keep a pair of gloves for his practice.

His commitment transpired into performance as he continued on his merry way. He brought home glory with a silver medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In the same year, he bagged an Asiad Gold in Jakarta as defeated current Olympic Gold Medalist Hasanboy Dusmatov. His recent performances have provided the nation with the hope of an Olympic medal.

Sportskeeda caught up with Amit Panghal for an exclusive interview where he spoke about his training, fitness and the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Q. How did the journey start?

Amit: My elder brother went for boxing and he took me with him, my family thought that both the brothers would do boxing, if not anything else, at least body fitness will be maintained. Later on, our coach told us that we are performing well and we can bring a medal for the country.

Q. When did you get serious about boxing?

Amit: Our coach Anil Dhankar sir motivates us a lot, when I won a National Gold in 2016, I thought that now is the time to take my boxing life and career forward in a positive manner. 

Q. Has your time in the army enhanced your performance in the ring?

Amit: Army supports us a lot. If we require anything, army provides us with that. They also look after our training and equipment, the army has played an immense role in our training.

Q. You won a silver at CWG 2018, how did you convert the silver into a gold at Asiad 2018?

Amit: There were a few weaknesses which we saw in Commonwealth Games 2018, we kept that in mind while training and did specific routines while addressing the weakness. I worked on my footwork and power a lot. I also watched videos of opponents, it’s important to know how a boxer plays, we worked on this and won a Gold. 

Q. How is the training progressing thus far?

Amit: Every player dreams of getting an Olympic gold medal for the country. I want to win a medal for my country and I’m training hard for it, we recently trained with teams from other countries and we get to learn a lot while training with them. We also get a lot of motivation and it helps us to perform better. 

Q. How has the diet changed with respect to the time left in the event?

Amit: The competition was near so our concentration was on liquid diet like juices. We came to know that the qualifiers have been postponed by a month so we have started with heavy diet in order to maintain our energy. Weight plays a very important role in boxing so we have to maintain it. 

The boxing qualifiers have been moved from Wuhan, China to Amman, Jordan due to the coronavirus outbreak. The qualification event would take place from March 3 to 11 in Amman, Jordan.

Q. Is there any pressure on you with the increasing expectations?

Amit: People have expectations and I want to fulfil those expectations. The love that people have given us provides us with confidence and it feels great when the whole country is backing you, this motivates us to perform our level best and win a medal for the country.

Edited by A. Ayush Chatterjee
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