The 31-year-old boxer won a bronze medal at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers earlier this year.
Over the years Satish Kumar has been the flagbearer of Indian boxing in various national and international competitions, mainly in the men’s super heavyweight category. While Kumar wasn’t able to qualify for the Rio Olympics, he didn’t lose hope and booked his place for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics after a remarkable performance at the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers in March.
“I was extremely happy to qualify for the Olympics and on top of that there was the fact that I am the first Indian to qualify in my weight category. I really can’t explain that feeling. It is everyone”s dream to get to this stage and win a medal at the Olympics. It”s the same for me and so now that I am there my target is to get the medal,” Satish Kumar told IANS.
He did not have much information about Boxing as a sport during his younger days. But when he joined the Indian Army in 2008 he learned a lot of things and credits the Army to provide him with a direction to his life.
Satish Kumar said, “If it wasn’t for the army I don’t think I would be where I am now. I am from Dehat and there are very few there who really set goals for themselves but after I joined the army I got that direction. I heard about boxing for the first time in 2008. I got to know what the sport is really all about at the time. Otherwise, I used to think that WWE is boxing. I knew Undertaker and John Cena but not real boxing. In the army, I understood what is real boxing.”
However, things have not been smooth for Satish in his career as he failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics despite coming really close. The fire within him kept burning and this time he became the first boxer in his category to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
The ecstasy and joy of qualification was shortlived as the nation prepared for a national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic which has led to the postponement of the Olympics to next year. Therefore Satish Kumar has been confined to his house in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh where he is trying his best to train and keep himself fit.
He added, “It is difficult for a boxer to train at home with everything available as it is never the same at the National camp. “In the camp, the 100 per cent training that I do usually is not something I can do at home. I make do with whatever equipment I have at home and am able to do about 65-70 per cent here.”
However, he assured that the coaching staff at the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) have communicated with him over his training regime, diet and also regarding potential competitions to be held after the lockdown.
Satish Kumar explained, “There has been communication but nothing is confirmed. There are plans about where we need to go and what training needs to be done but none of it is compulsory yet (owing to the lockdown). BFI has made plans on where to go for competitions or training right after the lockdown but unless it ends, nothing can be confirmed. For now, I am just focussing on the training programme that coaches have prepared for us.”
“There are different sessions reserved for each day. So today was for weight training. Otherwise, there are days for running and endurance and we keep alternating like this. So today I did squats, power lifts, snatch; all exercises to keep up my strength. There are no gym facilities anywhere so I am using stuff like ropes, tires or whatever is there at home. We have been asked by SAI and BFI about equipment that we need. I have told them accordingly but for now, nothing has happened after that.”
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) are working with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju mainly to resume outdoor training and they assume that athletes will be able to train outdoors by the end of this month. Athletes who have qualified for the Olympics and are close to qualification will be given first preference.
“If it happens then it will be a very good thing. If not for everyone then at least for those who have qualified for the Olympics or are about to qualify, if facilities are made available for them, it will be very good indeed. It is a good decision that the Sports Minister has made. It has been more than a month that we have done proper training and certainly losses are happening because of that so it will be good if some measures are taken,” Satish concluded.