02 August, 2021

Power Tools For Tokyo

Boxer Amit Panghal and wrestler Bajrang Punia of Rohtak and Jhajjar in Haryana—both world number ones in their disciplines—will power India’s Olympic campaign this summer

Power Tools For Tokyo

Carrying the hopes of over a billion people—the cliché cannot be ignored as Amit Panghal and Bajrang Punia limber up for the much-delayed, pandemic-hit Tokyo Olympics, hopefully starting on July 23. Power sport has never been an Indian strong point, although a few medallions of honour and pride did come by in fits and starts. Seldom has two world number ones given us the best shot for a podium finish even before the Games began. Against this backcloth of history, boxer Panghal—No. 1 in 52kg flyweight—and wrestler Punia, top ranked in 65kg, underscore the changing scenario in world sport. But how did the Indians become serious medal contenders at the Summer Games after a dismal Rio 2016? The answer can be grubbed out of the preps and qualifiers—especially India’s record haul of 15 medals (two gold, five silver and eight bronze) at the Asian boxing championships in Dubai. Isn’t that a clear indication of the promise our pugilists hold out? Tokyo will define the careers of many of them.

To know more, we need to dive into the cradle,...

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