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After Games, a stay in Tihar

The combination of his fierce left and right hooks are known to have reduced his opponents to submission in the boxing arena, reports Abhishek Saran.

delhi Updated: Feb 13, 2010 23:22 IST
Abhishek Sharan

The combination of his fierce left and right hooks are known to have reduced his opponents to submission in the boxing arena.

Outside the ring, at Tihar jail, it is the medal-winning Indian boxer Akhil Kumar's softer side that is flooring people.

The 29-year-old Bantamweight (56 kg weight category) pugilist, on request from the jail authorities, has offered to train inmates for free in sports.

Kumar, who spoke to Hindustan Times, said he planned to “stay for a month at Tihar jail to train the inmates after the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October this year.” Aware of the possible misuse of the art of boxing in a jail “by bullies”, Kumar said he would devise his training regimen “carefully”.

“Boxing is a contact sport, which can be used for offensive purposes… I will not be teaching the inmates the skills of boxing, only impart them tips on strength training, vigorous physical exercises and sprinting techniques from my own experience,” said Kumar.

Tihar jail's Director General (prisons) BK Gupta told HT that boxing lessons would be avoided due to security reasons. “It will be great if boxer Akhil Kumar can teach the inmates some sporting activities,” he said. “A few bad characters, usually comprising ten per cent of the inmates in any jail, can misuse it.”

Kumar, the 2008 World Cup bronze medallist and quarter finalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, would use the open spaces at the 400-acre campus of the jail to put his potential wards through training.

“A gymnasium cannot be set in a jail since its equipment can be misused. I would use the playgrounds available there,” said Kumar. “For doing chin-ups or squats, you do not need a gymnasium.”

Kumar believes he can wean the inmates from crime when they step out of the jail in future.

“My philosophy is if these men stay busy in vigorous physical exercises through the day, where would they have the time and energy to think of crime?” said Kumar who is currently training for the Commonwealth Games in Patiala.

Kumar decided to train the inmates when he visited the jail as a ‘guest’ on Thursday, along with the Indian women hockey team's captain Mamata Kharab, at an event.

“I felt humbled by the enthusiastic response of my admirers there. Many said they wanted to emulate me and requested to get trained,” said Kumar.