Subedar Manish Kaushik of Pune’s Army Sports Institute punches his way to Arjuna award

The 19-year-old institute for the first time has been conferred with the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar 2020.
24-year-old Subedar Manish Kaushik who boxes in the 63kg category has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.(HT PHOTO)
24-year-old Subedar Manish Kaushik who boxes in the 63kg category has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.(HT PHOTO)
Updated on Aug 29, 2020 05:17 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | ByJigar Hindocha

PUNE When one visits the Army Sports Institute building, what catches the eyes first is the line written in big and bold ‘the aim is to win an Olympic medal’ – these lines motivate every athlete who is trained at the institute.

“I came to the Institute in 2016 and since then it is my second home. I prefer to stay here more than my home as my training is not sacrificed here. Winning a prestigious award is a proud moment for me and my family,” said Subedar Manish Kaushik, boxer, who won the Arjuna Award in the recently announced National Sports Awards 2020.

The joy doubled for the Institute as they have also been conferred with the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar 2020. It is the first time Army Sports Institute has received this award.

The 24-year-old Kaushik who boxes in the 63kg category has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Some of his recent major performances are bronze medal in World Championship 2019, silver medal in India Open International Tournament 2019, silver in Commonwealth Games 2018, gold in Asian Game Test Event 2018 and qualification for Tokyo Olympics.

Kaushik is from Devsar village, Bhiwani, Haryana. His father Somdutt Sharma is a farmer and his mother is a homemaker. He followed the footsteps of his village boxer Jitender Kumar who participated in Olympics 2008.

Since raising the Army Sports Institute in July 2001 it has enabled the participation of 20 sportspersons in the Olympics. Twelve have already qualified for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. The institute has won six (6) Youth Olympic medals, nineteen (19) medals in Asian Games and eighteen medals (18) in Commonwealth Games.

“Those who come here are very clear in their mind to win medals for their country,” added Kaushik.

The National Sports Awards will be conferred on August 29 which is also the birth anniversary of hockey magician Major Dhyan Chand. The awards will be conferred in a virtual ceremony, in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Lakshya bags Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar

City-based ‘athlete-first’ organisation Lakshya has been honoured with the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar at the 2020 National Sports Awards.

A not-for-profit organisation, Lakshya, which was started over a coffee meeting in the city by a bunch of sports fanatics in 2010 to provide much-needed support for Indian athletes to win medals for the country at big international events, has so far extended holistic support to more than 100 sportspersons across eight disciplines, including the Olympians such as Rahi Sarnobat, Sharath Kamal, Manika Batra and Ashwini Ponappa.

Two sportsmen from Bombay Sappers bag awards

Two sportspersons from Bombay Sappers have also been named in the National Sports Awards 2020.

Naib Subedar Dattu Baban Bhokanal has been honoured with the Arjuna Award for outstanding achievements in Rowing and Naib Subedar Lakha Singh (retired) has been conferred with Dhyanchand Award for lifetime achievements in boxing.

Bombay Sappers is a regiment of the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army located at Khadki in the city.

In the Rio Olympics, Bhokanal secured 13th spot. He won a gold medal in Quadruple Sculls at Asian Games Jakarta- Palembang 2018. Bhokanal is presently in the Army Rowing Node to participate in the qualification trials for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled next year.

Naib Subedar Lakha Singh who won the bronze medal in 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games has also represented the country in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Currently, he is retired and is staying in Ludhiana.

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