Asian Games gold medal-winning boxer Amit Panghal on Wednesday said that he might undergo strength training in the USA with the Indian Army’s assistance to prepare his jump to the 52kg category for a shot at an Olympic medal.
The 22-year-old won the 49kg category gold earlier this month, making him only the eighth Indian boxer ever with an Asian Games gold to his credit.
But amid widespread speculation that the 49kg category will be axed from the Olympics to accommodate more women’s divisions, Panghal has decided to jump to the higher weight.
‘’Asian Games was my last competition in the 49kg category. Now my entire focus will be on Tokyo Olympics and for that I am switching to 52kg category. The challenge of increasing the weight isn’t that great. The bigger challenge is to get adjusted to new weight,’’ Panghal said during a felicitation programme organised by the Indian Army.
‘’I have been told that I might be sent to the United States for a special strength training programme. I still don’t know the details. The Army is going to sponsor my trip but details will be chalked out only after talking to the Boxing Federation of India. Our coaches Santiago sir (Nieva) and (CA) Kuttappa sir will accompany me,’’ the diminutive Naib Subedar.
Panghal also won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year: “I am fully aware about the challenges of a higher weight category. The height of the opponents will increase and the power in the punches will be greater. But I am ready for the new challenge,’’ Panghal said.
However, unlike his senior Vikas Krishan, who is set to turn professional after a third successive Asiad medal, Panghal has no such plans as of now.
‘’The Indian Army has helped me a lot in my journey so far. Whether it’s coaching facilities or other training needs, we just need to tell them and everything is taken care of. When I don’t train at NIS Patiala, I am training at the Army Sports Institute in Pune,’’ he said.
A resident of Haryana’s Maina village, he is waiting to go back home and meet his family. ‘’I will be going back to my village in Rohtak where I have been told that the whole village wants to meet me. There are a few felicitation programmes lined up over there and I need to attend those before I get back to training,’’ he signed off.