Amit Panghal continues to hone skills for Olympic medal in isolation

The boxer from Haryana has been staying sharp by working out for five hours daily at a university near his village.

The Tokyo Games may have been postponed by a year, but the work never stops if you are an athlete who is set to take part in the Olympics like Indian boxing sensation Amit Panghal.

The flyweight from Haryana was one of nine Indian boxers to have qualified for Tokyo at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers in Amman, Jordan last month.

However, the COVID-19 outbreak pushing back the Olympic Games as well as the subsequent lockdown in India meant that the likes of Amit Panghal and other Tokyo-bound athletes have had to find their own ways to keep busy and stay physically sharp while self-isolating.

Amit Panghal, for instance, has been making the most of an indoor hall at a university in his village to stay sharp and hone his skills with the help of his childhood coach.

“There is an indoor hall at Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak – barely 5km from my house – that I use for training. The university is closed but they have allowed me to use their facility,” he told the Hindustan Times.

“There is no one to disturb me and I can do my routine in isolation… I also do some exercises in the open in my village.”

“It reminds me of my childhood days when I started boxing,” Amit Panghal, who wakes up at 8am and follows India’s chief boxing coach Santiago Nieva’s instructions for the day, added.

The Tokyo-bound boxer also explained his training regime in isolation while focusing on an Olympic medal, which is his main goal and source of motivation.

“I train for close to five hours spread across two sessions in the morning and evening, all of it being indoors. I stretch for 30 minutes, jog and warm-up, then do pads, punching bag and finally abdominal exercises and relaxation,” he said.

Amit Panghal, Ajay's brother, is certain that the lockdown won't be affecting the Indian boxer's regime.

"He is training at home and there is no lack of intent," he told the Sportstar. "The key is to keep engaging in physical activity and be mentally focussed. He is doing everything to keep himself in shape and is keeping himself busy."

The pugilist has also been active on social media, regularly sharing video snippets of himself either sparring or keeping himself fit on Twitter, along with short motivational messages.

“Qualifying for Tokyo was a dream come true and a lot of hard work, some technical and mental adjustments were done,” Ajay Panghal explained. 

“Now the goal is to win a medal at the Games,” he said.

Amit Panghal, who punched his Tokyo ticket in the 52kg category, echoed his brother's sentiments when speaking to the Times of India.

"The ultimate dream is to win an Olympic medal for my country," asserted the 24-year-old pugilist.

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