Amit Panghal: Hasanboy Dusmatov intimidated by me

Beating the reigning Olympic champion is not a big deal for India’s Amit Panghal.

Amit Panghal (in blue) has enjoyed good success in the last two years.   -  PTI

For India’s Amit Panghal, defeating Hasanboy Dusmatov — the reigning Olympic champion — twice in a row is no big deal.

Panghal claims Dusmatov, the Uzbek ‘golden boy’, is now a “bit scared of him.”

Panghal defeated Dusmatov for the first time in September, 2018, at the Asian Games in Jakarta. He repeated the feat at the Asian Championships in Bangkok last week, ensuring a win in the quarterfinals. Dusmatov had come in as a two-time gold-medallist.

Kuch nahi hai (It’s nothing). I think he was a bit intimidated by me this time, his game wasn’t up to it. Thoda down tha mere saamne (He seemed a bit down),” he told PTI with a grin on his face.

Successful run

Panghal is enjoying a successful run ever since he won the bronze-medal at the Asian Championships in 2017. The same year, he made the quarterfinals of the world championships, losing a close one to Dusmatov. That was followed by a gold at the India Open in 2018 and at the Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria.

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At the Commonwealth Games, he claimed silver, before clinching the gold-medal at the Asian Games.

This year, he won the gold-medal at the Strandja Memorial again before finishing at the top at the Asian Championship. In between these performances, Panghal switched from the 49kg to the 52kg category.

‘Things worked out’

Panghal had said the transition would not be easy. But if there were difficulties, they didn’t show in his performance in Bangkok. “You can say that things worked out. Plus the fact that most of the guys I fought were also the ones I used to encounter in 49kg. So, luckily all of us made the transition at the same time. There was familiarity,” he said.

Panghal has a packed schedule ahead of him as he gears up for the World Championships in Russia, scheduled from September 7, 2019. It will be the first Olympic qualifying event.

“I have a packed schedule, which includes training trips to Italy and Ireland. Plus there is the India Open later this month (starting May 20 in Guwahati). So it’s a good build-up,” Panghal said.