Unlike most other Indian boxers, who have to make do without a sparring partner, Manish Kaushik has a professional boxer in his brother to keep him in shape.
The lightweight category pugilist, who sealed his Tokyo Olympics place at the Asian Boxing Olympic Qualifiers earlier this year, has split his regular training routine into two halves - skill and strength.
“Right now, my focus is on gaining power and my morning sessions are devoted towards that, while I work on my technique in the evenings,” Manish Kaushik told The Hindu.
While a nearby gym, kept open exclusively for Manish Kaushik, and a weekly run on a sandy hillock in his village improves his strength, it is his national-level boxing brother who takes care of the rest.
“My brother Sahil, who is five years younger to me, helps me out in sparring,” the 24-year-old World Championship bronze medallist told the Times of India.
“Due to the lockdown, most of the boxers are training alone and do not have a sparring partner. But my younger brother Sahil is helping me a lot.
“He gets up early in the morning with me and trains with me... It is really good that he is a boxer too otherwise things would have been a little difficult for me,” the 24-year-old pointed out.
Vijender Singh an idol
Growing up in Haryana’s Bhiwani district, home to India’s sole boxing Olympic medallist Vijender Singh and Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vikas Krishan, choosing a career wasn’t difficult for Manish Kaushik.
“I idolise Vijender bhaiya and started boxing because of him. I was a kid and was studying in the eighth standard when he won the Olympic medal,” Manish Kaushik said.
And with Manish Kaushik becoming one of the only six male boxers to win a World Championship medal for India, his decision to take up the sport has paid off.
“When I won the World Championships medal, he (Vijender) congratulated me,” Manish Kaushik said.
“I am very proud to be the third World championship medallist from Bhiwani district after Vijender Singh and Vikas Krishan. Now, I want to replicate Vijender’s Olympic medal-winning feat,” he added.
While the COVID-19 outbreak forced the Olympics postponement and disrupted plans for many, a determined Manish Kaushik is using every day to bolster himself physically and mentally.
“Time flies. Before we realise, the 2021 Olympics will be upon us and we have to utilise each day to get better,” Manish Kaushik said.
“Apart from training, I watch motivational videos and my old boxing videos to prepare for the Olympics,” he added.