National Games: After failing in two sports, Ankit Sharma makes a mark in boxing

After failing to make an impression in two other sports, Haryana’s Ankit Sharma decided to take up boxing as his profession. The move paid rich divided as Ankit on Monday stormed into the men’s flyweight semifinals in the ongoing 36th National Games here.

After failing to make an impression in two other sports, Haryana’s Ankit Sharma decided to take up boxing as his profession. The move paid rich divided as Ankit on Monday stormed into the men’s flyweight semifinals in the ongoing 36th National Games here.

First, he took up skating but the National Championship silver medallist had to leave it as he fell down during an event and returned home with broken teeth. Then, he tried his hand at taekwondo. But despite his best efforts, he could not shed the extra kilos, and also withdrew from the sport.

Determined to give his son a sports life, Rampat Sharma, who manages a construction business, decided to take him to Rohtas Kumar, a coach at a nearby Boxing Academy in Sonipat.

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“Initially, I put him into skating. He won two silver medals in junior-level competitions in Bhiwani. Later, in another competition, he slipped and returned home with a couple of broken teeth. I found the sport too dangerous for the child and decided to take him to taekwondo. I wanted him to lose some weight. But after a few weeks I couldn’t find any positive results,” Rampat revealed.

“He was around 4 or 5 when I decided to put him in boxing. I decided to take him to the coach who has taken care of his career since then,” he added.For coach Rohtas Kumar, the 2019 Khelo India Youth Games gold medallist, was one of his most hardworking wards.

“He came to me when he was around 6 years. He was a chubby kid but was very disciplined from the beginning. Even after winning a medal, he wouldn’t go overboard with his celebrations or stop his training. He’s one of the very few kids who wouldn’t let me rest even on Sundays,” the coach recalled.

Ankit Sharma missed the Asian Championships trials last month due to an injury in his left shoulder. Now back to full fitness, he has looked impressive in the initial rounds.

A gold medallist at the 2022 Inter-University Games, Ankit will be up against Punjab’s Sparsh Kumar in the semifinals of the men’s flyweight 51kg weight division. Kumar expressed confidence in his ward’s chances of winning the gold but cautioned Ankit against any complacencies, the organisers informed in a press release on Monday.

“Everyone comes prepared. It will be foolish to take the opponent lightly. But Ankit has the potential to clinch the gold medal at the National Games, this will boost his confidence, going forward,” he said.

After the National Games, Ankit will be returning to the national camp to prepare for the upcoming Senior National Boxing Championships in December. He also has one eye on the Asian Games and the World Championships, which will also serve as a qualifying event for the Paris Olympics in 2024.

(IANS)

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