Home Boxing I hope an Olympic Gold in Rio 2016- Akhil Kumar

I hope an Olympic Gold in Rio 2016- Akhil Kumar

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An Arjuna Awardee in 2005, Akhil Kumar is Olympic Quarter Finalist, Champion at 2003 Hyderabad Afro Asian Games, 2005 Scotland Commonwealth Championship, 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games & 2006 Colombo SAF Games. For him, Smart hard work is “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound” input transformed into proper training. Here, he replies to our questions:

Boxing as a career…

I started boxing at a relatively late age if you compare it to most of the people. In fact, early on, like most other kids, I used to play cricket. But then, one day my elder brother asked me to switch to boxing if I was serious about pursuing sports. And then, it seems such a long time ago, it all started.

Life other than Boxing…

Of course my family. The trust is that all these years I have seen life through a boxing-tinted shade. But as we go, marriage and then the birth of my daughter changed things. You do become more responsible and it becomes really difficult spending time without my daughter now. But such are the requirements of a sports-person’s life that I still don’t see her enough.

Current IOA IOC fiasco…

I don’t have much to say, except that I hope it is resolved soon. All athletes want to fight for the nation and do it under the national flag so it would be good if it is resolved at the earliest.

Open guarded boxing style…

It is a much riskier proposition compared to the normal style where the first thing on your mind is defense. When you let your guard down, you basically are throwing the opponent a challenge. Can he come at you? Can he hit you? This in turn makes him deviate from his game as well. And the bout becomes much, much more open. The crowd especially enjoys it as this is an action packed and nitro-charged version of the sport.

Attributes of a top boxer…

There are many attributes. Discipline, grit, will power and many more. But one thing that I feel is absolutely important in a sport like boxing is that you learn to take the punishment. Everyone can punch, everyone can dance around the ring, but not everyone can take a punch and then get back to his game. (See more articles featuring Akhil here)

Indian Boxing compared to World Standards…

As you know AIBA has divided amateur boxing in three formats: AIBA Open Boxing, World Series of Boxing and AIBA Professional Boxing. In AOB we have 3 rounds of 3 minutes each, in WSB we have 5 rounds of three minutes in the teams matches and 7 rounds of 3 minutes in the individual matches. And in the APB there are 6 rounds, 8 rounds and 12 rounds of 3 minutes.
Boxers from different countries from the world over participate in all these 3 formats simultaneously. In the recent Men’s World Championship, 10 out of 40 medalists have a WSB background. Boxers competing in WSB and APB have to train hard to box up to 12 rounds. They have to gain endurance, strength, speed, explosiveness in the punches.
At present Indians are not part of any WSB team. We are preparing for AOB only. It means training  to gain fitness for 3 rounds of 3 minutes. And then at the world level we are competing against WSB and APB experienced boxers.
So we need to focus on WSB and APB as well. We Indian boxers have the required talent and heart to train hard. But to cope up with international scenario we need to focus on required aspects as well. (See more from Boxing here)

Facilities in India…

Ministry of youth affairs and sports along with sports authority of India and Indian boxing federation are doing their utmost to provide the best possible facilities to assist Indian boxers to do their training effectively and efficiently.
Even when our Federation (IBF) is banned by AIBA, these three authorities are assisting boxers in terms of conducting national camps, selection trails, providing coaches, medical staff etc. So at the elite level we get all required facilities.
As far as grass root level is concerned, Govt of India has initiated schemes like pykka, come and play, pay and play, STC, special area games etc for the promotion and development of various games.

Boxing development in India…

After the Beijing Games,  there was a boom for boxing , which is still there. The performance of Indian boxers in Beijing 2008 inspired the masses to join  boxing. We are winning medals, in the recent elite Men’s Asian championships, we won 1 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze medals. And even in the current world championships we booked 5 berths in the quarterfinals by winning 2 or 3 bouts in these 5 weight classes. So, we are performing well and will improve in the future because we are working hard.

Anti-Doping in India…

National anti doping agency is doing its job efficiently. There are random test in the national camps and also whenever any team is going to participate in any international competition NADA conducts dope tests. Also in the nationals as well dope tests are conducted and wrong doers are punished accordingly.

Junior talent pool…

We have good bunch of juniors. And I am sure in future they will shine even further.

Current Indian & international boxers…

As far as Indians are concerned I have high hopes from Mandeep Jangra. I like his style. I have always been a big admirer of the open guard, attacking style of boxing. I am pleased that it is something I am known for throughout boxing circles. Internationally, I like boxers like Prince Naseem Ahmed, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard and Ray Jones Junior.

Sports Promotion…

As far as boxing is concerned, it is more popular in Haryana, Manipur along with the north east seven sisters. The reasons for such specific area development is the sporting culture.

Also government policies count a lot, for example Haryana government is providing class one jobs to Olympians, cash prizes etc which act as a spark to promote any sport. And thus role models are created and juniors try to emulate their seniors. This is how it happens.

Upcoming championships…

I am, for now, working endlessly on my fitness and trying to stay in the best possible shape with an eye on the future. My long term target is the upcoming Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2014. Before these major competitions, I am trying my level best.

World championship & Indian claim…

We have performed well. Our five boxers reached the quarterfinals. This happened for the first time in the history of Indian boxing. We did not get any medal but we performed well.  When I saw the draw, I was expecting a medal from Shiva Thapa, but hard luck he missed that.

Commonwealth Games…

It was an event to promote the message of sports and the ethos of the Commonwealth Games in the country. It was jointly hosted by the British Council and the Scottish High Commission. I am glad that I took out the time to go meet so many youngsters and they were able to see first hand what it is like to be a part of an event that includes 70 nations.

Career goal…

I hope an Olympic Gold in Rio 2016.