India's Panghal targets Tokyo after worlds silver

Indias Panghal targets Tokyo after worlds silver
Amit Panghal poses with the silver medal after losing to Uzbekistan's reigning Olympic gold medallist Shakhobidin Zoirov at the AIBA Men's World Championships. - PTI

New Delhi - Panghal became the first Indian male boxer to win a silver at the World Championship, which concluded in Ekaterinburg, Russia on Saturday.


Published: Mon 23 Sep 2019, 10:33 PM

Last updated: Tue 24 Sep 2019, 12:42 AM

World Championships' silver medal-winning boxer Amit Panghal reckons securing an Olympic spot at next year's Asian qualifiers will be a tough task but vowed to leave no stone unturned in his quest for glory at the Tokyo Games.
Panghal (52kg), an Asian Games and Asian Championships gold-medallist, became the first Indian male boxer to win a silver at the World Championship, which concluded in Ekaterinburg, Russia on Saturday.
The 23-year-old said he was sure of a podium finish after putting in the hard yards ahead of the prestigious tournament.
"It is a great feeling to win this medal. Given the preparation that I had, I was confident that I won't return without a medal. No Indian boxer has gone beyond the bronze, so I wanted to do something different, change the colour of the medal," Panghal said on Monday.
"I want to keep repeating what is working for me and keep improving on my weaknesses. I want to practice so much, put in so much effort in my training that I not only return with a medal but also change the colour of the medal at Tokyo," he added referring to bronze medal won by Vijender Singh back in 2008.
The world championships in Russia no longer have Olympic qualifier status after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the International Boxing Association (AIBA) from conducting the event in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
"At least 3-4 of us would have qualified if World Championships were still the Olympic qualifiers. It would have been a big achievement. Now the Asian Olympic qualifiers is the next big tournament for us. All the focus will be on that," said Panghal.
The Olympic qualifiers will start in February next year with the Asia/Oceania zone qualifiers in China.
"For us who are in the lower weight category, the level of competition at Asian qualifiers is same as world championships. Most of the Asian boxers win medal at the Olympics or World Championships. So it will be tough," Panghal said.
"Of course, the World qualifiers will be tougher as US and European boxers will also participate."
Panghal, who had shifted to the 52-kg category after a stellar run in the 49kg division, said he needs to work on his strength and power.
"I will work on my strength and stamina. We will improve as we inch towards the qualifiers. We have to held on to our top form, we can't effort to let it slip a bit till the Olympics."

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