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Recovered from Covid, boxer Satish Kumar eyes Tokyo podium | Tokyo Olympics News

CHANDIGARH: Grit and perseverance defines boxer Satish Kumar, India’s first ever +91 kilogram super heavyweight entrant at an Olympic Games. Having missed out on crucial training time after testing positive for coronavirus, earlier this year, Satish claims to have finally got his mojo back, thanks to the exposure trip in Assisi, Italy.
A day ahead of the Indian boxing contingent’s departure to Tokyo, Satish spoke to TOI exclusively on his training since his arrival in the Italian city, besides disclosing a small prayer ahead of his maiden Olympics.
Recounting his ordeal with the Covid-19, Satish said only people affected by the virus can describe how it breaks the person from inside.
“A couple of days after returning from Noida, where I was being treated for a shoulder injury, I experienced sudden backache and breathlessness. I was already in isolation since my return to the NIS, Patiala, where regular tests are conducted and the result came positive. I was shocked, nightmares of missing the Olympics started haunting me,” Satish narrated.
“The recovery took around one and a half months, and I started off with some light training. After Covid, the body gets tired frequently, so the workload needs to be monitored,” he said, thanking Dan Jefferson, the lead strength and conditioning coach.
“It often happens with me, every time I prepare for a major championship, I either get injured or fall ill. I’m praying to save myself from evil eyes this time, it’s the biggest stage for me,” added the Bulandshahr pugilist.
Satish’s fears are validated from the fact that a deep cut in the eyebrow narrowly robbed him a chance to represent India at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
In Olympic mode
Having missed the Asian Championships in Dubai, the last major tournament before the Olympics, starting July 23, Satish’s only aim was to get back to full shape and restart training. But with the second wave disrupting proceedings in the country, the trip to Assisi came as a blessing for him.
“In a span of almost 30 days, I have had 10 sparring sessions, this was more than what I could have asked for. I sparred alongside some of the finest boxers from Azerbaijan, Italy, Colombia, France and Peru.”
“The sparring sessions helped me analyse myself, and I can now say I have reached the peak,” the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist claimed.
The 30-year-old had qualified for Tokyo by making the semifinals of the Asia/Oceania Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan in March, last year. But with the pandemic pushing the Olympics by a year, Satish was confined to indoor training and working in the fields, before joining the national camp in Patiala in July.
Gifted with a gangly 6’2″ frame, Satish’s first tryst with the sport was during his initial days of joining as a Sepoy in the Army at Ranikhet in 2008. Near the army training camp, a handful of boxers were training under the eyes of Ravishankar Sangwan. But Sangwan had his eyes pinned on a young, well-built Satish and immediately went up to him to ask, “You have the right frame for a boxer, do you want to give it a shot?” And the rest is history.

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