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When Rahul Gandhi learnt boxing

india Updated: May 26, 2009 12:14 IST

Rahul Gandhi may be having many commandos to defend him but the young politician believes in self-defence and learnt some boxing skills from India's first Dronacharya awardee Om Prakash Bharadwaj.

The veteran coach told PTI that Gandhi learnt techniques of boxing from him for two months last year with the objective of keeping himself physically and psychologically fit for a busy political life.

"It was a great opportunity for me to train Rahul Gandhi in boxing for two months last year," said Bharadwaj.

"In the beginning I was also surprised why he wanted to learn boxing because I was sure that he was not going to box in the ring. But later I realised that he was keen to have some knowledge about the art of self defence," he added.

The 70-year-old coach-cum-commentator said Rahul had great interest in sports and he was also a good shooter, swimmer and horse-rider.

"I observed that he likes sports. He is a good swimmer, shooter and horse rider. He is interested to have elementary knowledge in various activities and keep himself busy.

"He believes in making efforts and does not waste a single minute," Bharadwaj said.

The former boxer rated 39-year-old Rahul as a great learner, who is physically very fit.

"You won't believe but he was too good and had prior knowledge of a few boxing techniques. He would also discuss about the game's various techniques.

"I found him physically quite fit. For instance, knowing his busy schedule I kept for him light training and for the warm-up would ask him to run one round of his residence ground. But he would ask me if the drill was enough and run two more rounds.

"During the strenuous work-outs on punching pad also I never saw him tired," Bharadwaj said.

The caoch was all praise for Rahul's humility and was completely bowled over by his manners and etiquettes.

"One day when I wanted some water to drink, instead of asking any attendant he himself rushed to the kitchen to fetch me water. On another occasion, when he was escorting me to their gate, Soniaji called him but he replied 'let me see sir up to the gate and then I will come'. What better behaviour and etiquette I can expect from such a top youngster of the country?" he said.

Bharadwaj also recalled when Priyanka Gandhi Vadhra also tried her hand at boxing during one of their practice session.

"One day Priyankaji showed her interest in working on the punching pad, saying 'main bhi boxing karungi'. I went to Soniaji, who was sitting nearby, and requested her to allow Priyankaji and told her Indian women were already world champions in boxing," said Bharadwaj, heavily impressed by the top family of the country.