World C’ship: Rohtak’s Panghal punches his way to finals, creates historyUpdated: Sep 21, 2019 01:43 IST
Chandigarh Rohtak’s Amit Panghal sprang a surprise by reaching the finals of the boxing World Championship in the 52-kg category thus creating history by becoming the first Indian to achieve this feat. He defeated Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov in the semi-final at Ekaterinburg, Russia, in a split verdict of 3-2 to enter the title round.
His coach in the initial years Anil Dhankar said when 11-year-old Amit approached him first, he was not sure if the boy was physically fit enough for the sport. Dhankar put him through a rigorous physical training to test him and the results were impressive. And, as they say, the rest is history.
After winning the national gold in 2017, Amit got the job of a Junior Commissioned Officer in the army where he honed his boxing skills further.
“Amit’s elder brother Ajay was my trainee and when their grandfather mooted the idea of sending his younger grandson too, I was not confident that he could bear the brunt of blows as he was physically weak. But when I tested him for his physical prowess, he was outstanding and far ahead of the kids of his age,” recalls Dhankar.
Dhankar opened the Chotu Ram Boxing Academy in his neighbouring Mayna village in 2004. “Right from the beginning, he was very quick and explosive with the gloves, forcing his opponents not to go on his thin frame. Entering the finals of the world meet makes him a potential medal hope in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He will inspire more kids to take the sport,” adds Dhankar, who is currently posted in Gurgaon as a sports teacher in Haryana education department.
Asian Games gold medallist Panghal has surpassed the performances of world championship bronze medallists Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan, Shiva Thapa and Gaurav Bidhuri, after assuring at least silver in the world arena.
“Looking into the years of his international career, Amit is just three-year old in the circuit. But he has already proved his dominance,” says the coach.
First Published: Sep 21, 2019 01:43 IST