It’s about breaking the ‘quarters’ jinx for Akhil | other | Hindustan Times
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It’s about breaking the ‘quarters’ jinx for Akhil

"Quarterfinals had become the biggest jinx for me," boxer Akhil Kumar told HT after returning from the Arafura Games on Sunday. "To be honest, I was nervous before the match." Even though he's disappointed, Akhil is happy with the bronze. Debjeet Kundu reports.

other Updated: May 15, 2011 23:54 IST
Debjeet Kundu

"Quarterfinals had become the biggest jinx for me," boxer Akhil Kumar told HT after returning from the Arafura Games on Sunday. "To be honest, I was nervous before the match." Even though he's disappointed, Akhil is happy with the bronze.

Comfortably placed
While getting back to winning ways was a task on hand, adjusting to a different weight category was another thing that "played on my mind". "From 54(kg), I moved to 57, and then again to 56, and this hampered my game," he said. "But I'm comfortable now."
Though Vijender Singh, another bronze medallist at the Arafura Games, will return to the 75kg category for the 2012 London Olympics, Akhil wants to be consistent. "The Olympics are above everything else, so I want to maintain my rhythm."

Akhil felt the "beauty of the game" was getting lost in the per-punch scoring system. "But now, you have to go on hitting till the bell rings," he said. "It's like being back to the good ol' days when Md Ali or (Mike) Tyson had those classic bouts."

Poetic punch
Besides hopping from one category to the other, Akhil is also a voracious reader and movie buff, and his fetish for quotes and dialogues is a pointer. "Champions are not made in gyms, champions are made of something they have deep inside them," he said, quoting Muhammad Ali, when asked if facilities in India were at par with the world. There's more to Akhil, criticised for his open guarded style. "There's a dialogue from the film Guru: Log tumhare khilaaf bolte hai, toh samajhna tarakki kar rahe ho (If people are talking against you, understand you are on the right path)," he quipped while explaining the way to deal with criticism.

Indian boxing’s new golden girl

Everyone had taken a notice when she beat four-times boxing world champion MC Mary Kom at the National Games IN 2009. On Saturday, Pinky Jangra proved it wasn't a fluke by bagging the Gold in the women's fly weight category at the Arafura Games in Australia.

But Jangra, who returned to India on Sunday along with silver medalists Meena Rani (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg), put her National Games triumph win higher than this one. "Beating Mary was a much bigger moment," says the Haryana girl. Though her elder brother Amit, was her inspiration to take up the sports, who left boxing for engineering, Pinky decided to pursue it as a career. That didn't deter her from shining in academics too. After credible results in her board exams, Pinky travelled daily from her camp in Patiala to Hissar for her graduation exams. "I didn't get a leave from my camp. So, every morning I went to Hissar only to return in the evening and join training sessions," says 21-year-old. –sanjeev garg, new delhi