Amit Panghal created history at World Boxing Championships as he became the first male Indian boxer to clinch a sliver at the prestigious tournament. After putting up a historic performance in Russia, when Panghal's flight landed in India he received a superstar's welcome as fans thronged the airport in large numbers. Last few years have been very productive for Panghal as he has won gold medals at both Asian Games and Asian Championships. In fact, he credits the bronze medal he won in Asian Championships as the turning-point in his professional career as it gave him confidence to compete with the best in business.
After the success at the World Championships, Panghal has shifted his focus on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, to be held in Japan next year. Panghal aims to achieve his goal of winning gold at Olympics by working hard in the practice sessions as much as he can and keep improving on his weaknesses.
He also stressed that to prepare himself for the biggest sporting event on the planet he will start working on his strength and stamina.
"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, Panghal told PTI after returning to India.
"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," Panghal added.
The 23-year-old pugilist from Haryana rued the fact that the boxers who finished on the podium at the just-concluded World Boxing Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia were not able to secure an Olympics quota as the event had lost its status of Olympics Qualifying event.
"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.
Panghal will now have to compete in Asian Olympic Qualifiers in China next year despite winning a sliver in the World Championships after International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the International Boxing Association (AIBA) from conducting the event in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
(With PTI inputs)