By Navneet Singh
New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) Maharashtra’s Alifya Pathan could follow a six-day training schedule during the lockdown at home, said her father Akram Khan. The fitness gained in the past one year proved to be beneficial for the 18 year-old Nagpur based boxer as she claimed India’s first gold medal in the women’s 81kg plus weight category in the ongoing 30th Adriatic Pear Tournament in Budva, Montenegro on Friday night by scoring a 5-0 win against Daria Kozorev of Moldova.
“Following nationwide lockdown in March, it was difficult to visit the boxing training centre in the city. Since we had some space at home we decided to put a punching bag. Her elder brother Shaqib, a national level boxer, acted as a sparring partner. All the hard work paid off,” said the elated father.
The online interactive sessions initiated by Sports Authority of India (SAI) during the lockdown were also beneficial. “It kept Alifya on her toes,” her father told IANS.
Initially, Alifya, a badminton player turned boxer faced opposition from the elders in the family. But support from her father was a big advantage. “Seeing her elder brother packing a punch she too wanted to pursue boxing. Some family members objected as they were against teenage girls taking up combat sports like boxing. But I backed my daughter’s decision,” said Khan.
It has been over five years now, says the proud father, Alifya has started excelling at the international level. In 2019, she won Asian Junior title. “The next target is a podium finish in the World Youth Championship in April. The win in Montenegro should motivate her to work harder,” added the father.