NEW DELHI: Satish Kumar was India's hero at the Tokyo Olympics despite losing in the quarterfinals to Uzbekistan's world champion Bakhodir Jalolov in the super heavyweight boxing category.
The Indian sustained two deep cuts on his forehead and chin during the pre-quarterfinals and was in doubt for his medal-deciding clash against the Uzbek heavyweight. However, Satish decided to fight his next bout against Jalolov nonetheless, winning several hearts including his opponent's.
"Jalolov hugged me and said 'you are a true warrior'," Satish told IANS from Lucknow, where he will be honoured with the other Tokyo Olympics heroes by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
"There will be lots of ups and downs in boxing. I knew that it was an important fight for my country. I could give India another medal. My father also motivated me that I should fight no matter what the result would be. I am an army man and we don't surrender. Ek junoon tha ladne ka bas (There was a passion to fight)," said the Subedar Major.
"I am happy that despite my loss they are loving me and congratulating me as if I won the bout. But I assure you that I will work harder to win a medal next time," he added.
The UP boxer appreciated the government's support for the athletes.
"I am overwhelmed with the kind of recognition we are getting from the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke to us individually and backed us for our performances in Tokyo. Tomorrow, we have a felicitation ceremony in Lucknow by CM Yogi ji. And I want to thank them for all their support to us," he said.
Satish is now planning to start training for the World Championship scheduled to take place in October.