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Amit Panghal Seeks to Rewrite His Olympic Story at Paris 2024

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Amit Panghal will have one sole aim in his head when he steps into the ring at the Paris Olympics, and that is “Redemption”.

But when he steps into that ring ,Panghal will not just be fighting for a medal; he will be fighting to reclaim his place among the world’s elite and to prove to himself and his nation that he can rise from the ashes of disappointment to the pinnacle of success.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Amit Panghal had entered the Tokyo Olympics as the top seed and World number one and one of the hot favourites to win the Olympic Gold.

Courtesy ESPN


The expectations from Amit were sky high and deservedly so. Amit was in red hot form in the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics.Prior to Tokyo,He beat reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov arguably one of the best Flyweight boxers of recent times not once but twice.

Multiple wins over the likes of Carlo Palaam and Saken Bibossinov who would go on to win medals in Tokyo asserted his status as one of the best in the flyweight division. Being the reigning world championship Silver medallist,a feat no male boxer in Indian history has achieved,a medal was naturally expected from him.

And then disaster struck. Amit Panghal, shockingly lost in his very first match at the Tokyo Olympics, leaving fans absolutely shattered and heartbroken.

Courtesy Firstpost


The brightest star in the Indian Boxing scene,failed to shine at the biggest stage, loosing against familiar foe Yuberjen Martinez of Columbia by split decision in the round of 16.

Panghal started strong but eventually succumbed to Martinez’s relentless pressure, losing the bout by split decision in the end.

One can argue that Amit got a bit unlucky with the draw,facing a tricky matchup in Martinez who was a known pressure fighter ,a style which troubles Amit a lot.

Courtesy IndianExpress

Coincidentally, during the pre Olympics preparation Amit was part of a boxing camp in Italy which Martinez was also a part of. It was later revealed that the results of the camp weren’t very positive as Amit was having some issues with the food and training.

One can speculate that these things might have had an impact on the Tokyo results.

For Amit Life was difficult post Tokyo. He lost his position in the national team based on the federation’s new evaluation system,which was devised by the then High Performance Director Bernard Dunne.

Source TOI

Deepak Bhoria another very talented boxer had taken his spot in the team based on the basis of the new evaluation system.
Amit did make a brief but successful comeback to win gold in the Commonwealth Games 2022,but subsequently was again sidelined in favour of Deepak.

COMEBACK JOURNEY

Since the time he lost his place in the National Team to Deepak Bhoria, Amit has been in a constant tussle with the management regarding the lack of transparency in the evaluation and selection process.

Courtesy HT

This even led to him moving to the Court which ultimately was to no avail.

In his own words, he had almost given up the hope of making a comeback to realize his Olympic dream.

But fate seemed to have other plans. Deepak Bhoria failed to secure the Olympic quota for India in either of his two attempts,first at the 2022 Asian Games,then at the World Qualification event.
The Indian contingent particularly, performed miserably at the first world qualification tournament,leading to the resignation of HPD Dunne.
Consequently, there was huge amount of pressure on the Boxing federation which forced them to make changes in the team for the final world qualification tournament,and Amit was called in as a replacement for Deepak.

Source PTI


Amit’s good performance at the prestigious Strandja Cup early this year,where he won Gold,might have been a big factor behind this decision,and the coaches expressed confidence in him and his abilities.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE OLYMPICS

Regarding Olympics preparations , Panghal says he wants to follow his own plans to script success in Paris.

Courtesy Olympics


The Indian Olympic Boxing squad is currently in Saarbrucken, Germany for a multinational training camp,and Amit has chosen not to be a part of it. 

“I had problems with food and training, especially with boxers with whom I was going to fight, in the past. There is no problem, specifically with diet, when I train in India” Amit Says; recalling his past experiences at the training camps abroad pre Tokyo.

The Tokyo experience ,as it seems ,has made Amit wiser and he doesn’t want to make the same mistakes that he did,three years back. He is training entirely in India this time and was planning to do some high Altitude training in Shilaru for two-three weeks,to improve his fitness.
He will be guided by his coaches,Anil Dhankar & Cuban B.I. Fernandes during his preparation.

MEDAL PROSPECTS

Let’s get this straight,Amit is nowhere near his best currently. He was at his peak during the Tokyo  Olympics,riding on the waves of some terrific performances on the way. Post Tokyo he has taken part in only 2 events and the lack of match practice was evidently on display in the first Olympic qualification tournament, where he looked a bit rusty in his bouts.

Having said that, a boxer of Amit’s Calibre cannot be taken out of the medal conversation and if things fall in place and he recieves a good draw,he is very much capable of sneaking in to the podium. The expectations  this time is also a lot lesser which might actually work out in his favour.

The 51 kg category is stacked with a lot of boxers capable of making it to the podium. There is Hasanboy Dusmatov (UZB), Amit’s old rival,still going strong,who will be vying for his second Olympic Gold.

Source TOI


Then there are strong boxer’s with the likes of local boy Billal Bennama(FRA),Saken Bibossinov (KAZ),Patrick Chinyemba(ZAM), Alejandro Claro(CUB),Roscoe Hill(USA),Nijat Huseynov (AZE),all of whom are capable of medalling on the given day.

Amit has a hard task of getting past some of these boxers,to make his way to the podium.The good news is that Amit has past wins and good head to head records over most of the boxers mentioned above,which can definitely act as a confidence booter.
But head to head alone can’t decide the outcome of a fight or does it? More importantly,he will need to be in peak physical & mental state and conditioning,if he wants to medal.

The Paris Olympics represent a crucial opportunity for Panghal to cement his legacy and bring pride to his country.

Life has almost taken full circle since the Tokyo debacle,and Amit Panghal finds himself in almost the same spot to where he was three years back.

This might be his last and only shot at Redemption. He can’t undo the past,but he is determined to shape a better future  and leave an indelible mark on the sport. As a fan i wish him the best for his Olympic journey.

May he bring glory to himself and the Country.

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