Vijender’s game inspires Olympics-bound Ashish

Having achieved his first target of qualifying for the Olympics, Ashish wants to make the most of the additional time following the postponement of the Tokyo Games.

Ashish Kumar honing his skills at home.   -  Special Arrangement

Middleweight boxer Ashish Kumar, who has qualified for Olympics, may not have met Vijender Singh ever, but the 25-year-old from Himachal Pradesh is inspired by the Olympic bronze medallist’s long-range game.

For the well-built Ashish, who booked an Olympic quota place in the Asia/Oceania qualifying event in Amman last month, watching Vijender’s game is a learning process.

“I have never met Vijender bhai, but I like his counterattacks and long range game,” Ashish said.

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Ashish, hailing from Sundar Nagar in Mandi district, understands the importance of representing the country in the middleweight, in which Indian boxers have given fine performances in the last three Olympics.

Vijender bagged the bronze medal in 2008 and made it to the quarterfinals in 2012. Vikash Krishan, a World championships medallist, fought in the 2016 Olympics and reached the last eight.

“We are getting inputs from our coaches through video conferencing. I am doing strength exercises and following the schedule given by our coaches without going outdoors.” — Ashish

“My seniors in this category have done well. Our middleweight boxers have set a high standard and I want to maintain this,” said Ashish, who has been fighting in this particular weight since 2012.

Ashish, who claimed silver medals in the Asian championships and gold in Thailand Open, is encouraged after overcoming tough times and ensuring a quota place. “I had a leg Injury. Then, I lost my father. I am happy that I could bring cheers to my family with my success at the Olympic qualifying event.

“My family, which has some boxers and wrestlers, always supported me. My brother Johnny Chaudhary, who is an international wrestler, supported me right from the start.

“After my father’s death, he did not let me stay at home as the situation could have distracted me. He motivated me by saying that my father wanted me to compete in the Olympics and win a medal there.”

Ashish thanked JSW for its support. “When I badly needed a sponsor, they came forward.”

Having achieved his first target of qualifying for the Olympics, Ashish wants to make the most of the additional time following the postponement of the Tokyo Games. “I have got more time to make myself stronger and better prepared.”

In the time of lockdown, Ashish is trying his best to stay in touch with boxing. “We are getting inputs from our coaches through video conferencing. I am doing strength exercises and following the schedule given by our coaches without going outdoors,” said Ashish.

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