Asian Games 2018: Brother’s sacrifice pays the dividend
The foundation of Amit Panghal’s success was laid by his brother, Ajay, who sacrificed his career in boxing to become family’s bread-winner and ensure his younger sibling could focus on the sport.
Twelve years back, Ajay, then 13, and Amit, 10, were trainees at a private academy in Maina village on the outskirts of Rohtak, Haryana.
However, Ajay had to quit boxing a few years later as the family didn’t have enough financial resources to fuel their zeal. He joined the Army in 2011 letting the 14-year-old Amit continue boxing. The sacrifice began paying dividends last year when Amit won bronze at the Asian Championships. On Saturday, Amit emerged national hero by winning gold, upsetting the Olympic champion in light flyweight category at the Asian Games.
Ajay was on cloud nine. “My sacrifice has paid rich dividends,” he said. “I quit to earn money and joined the army so that I could support my bother.”
Recalling the days of hardship, Ajay says there was no way their father could have shelled out R4000-5000 for equipment (gloves) every 2-3 months. Hence the best way was to give up so that the younger one could carry on.
“We are small-time farmers and it was extremely difficult for our father to let both kids take up sports. It was a luxury as apart from equipment, we needed good diet too. The family simply couldn’t afford,” he added.
Amit’s golden run at the Asian Games once again demonstrates that local, makeshift academies in the country have been laying good foundation across disciplines.
Amit’s family is indebted to local coach Anil Dhankar who had set up a boxing academy in the village. “Coach sahib ki academy nahi hoti to hum boxing nahi kar patay (Had there been no academy in the village, we wouldn’t have taken up boxing),” added Amit’s brother.
Former chief coach and Dronacharya Awardee Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu was elated. “Going by his performance, he stands a good chance in 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” he said. “Since the level of competition in Olympics tougher, we need to mould him so that he reaches elite level in the next two years.”
Olympian and government observer in boxing Akhil Kumar also applauded Amit’s efforts. “His performance graph has been quite steady which augur wells for his future,” he added.
Amit’s brother too is thinking on similar lines. “I will continue to support him,” he said as the family got busy in celebration.