KOLKATA — Amit Panghal, who recently became the first Indian to win silver at the World Championships, isn't ready to rest on past laurels and already has his eyes fixed on the qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Panghal (52kg) and Manish Kaushik (63kg) have till now confirmed their place in the Asia/Oceania Zone qualifiers in China in February, 2020, which will serve as the qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics, owing to their medal-winning show at the World Championships.
Speaking to IANS, Panghal made it clear that he still has some areas to work on and is looking forward to the Indian Boxing League to further fine-tune his skills.
"Preparation is going on very well. I will continue to gain more experience by playing in the Indian Boxing League. But main is the qualifiers," he said.
While Panghal and Kaushik have made it for the qualifiers, the rest of the squad will be picked on the basis of camp performance, points accumulated at international events and in some cases, trials.
The Boxing Federation of India had made it clear that boxers who bag medals at the World Championships will be automatic choices for the Olympic qualifiers.
"Boxing in India is on the rise. We have very good boxers. At the Worlds, four of our boxers reached the quarterfinals from which two won medals. Women boxers are also doing well. So in my opinion, all boxers should be able to qualify with ease," he pointed.
Panghal said that his need to improve upon his strength and power was apparent in the final against Uzbekistan's Shakhobidin Zoirov, who is the reigning 52-kg Olympic champion. Panghal lost that bout by a unanimous 5-0 decision, although it was a much closer affair than the scoreline suggested.
"I was in the 48kg category before. Now I have moved to 52kg and to compete with boxers in higher weight category I need more power. That is one area I need to work on, power and endurance. In the World Championships final also, I realized I need more power and work needs to be done there," he said.
Panghal lost 0-5 to Kharkhuu Enkhmandakh of Mongolia in the quarterfinal of men's fly (49-52kg) category of the Military Games.
"I got to learn a lot. I worked with my coach (Anil Dhankar) on what areas I can improve on and the bouts helped," concluded the Asian Championships winner.