CHENNAI: Over the last few years or so Rohit Chamoli could have been spotted at a public park in Chandigarh along with other kids, carrying out boxing drills with dreams to become a champion. With his nifty footwork and pinpoint punches on Tuesday, Rohit produced what he has learnt during those sessions and is now one hit away from gold, a medal that could potentially add fuel to his nascent career.
Taking part in his second fight of the Asian Junior and Youth Championships (Dubai), Rohit used his height to his advantage to see off Aidar Kadyrkhan of Kazakhstan in the light flyweight (48kg) category. "I'm really delighted," Rohit said, after registering a 5-0 victory.
The youngster, who lives with his relatives in Chandigarh, picked up the sport from his elder sister. "My sister used to box so I asked her if I could join her. That's how I began," he said.
Coming from a humble background, it is his coach, Joginder Kumar, who sowed the love for the sport in Rohit's young mind with words of encouragement over the years. Rohit's father, who resides at Nayagaon (Mohali) works at a private hotel and is the sole breadwinner of the family.
Joginder himself harboured dreams of becoming a sportsperson once upon a time but that remained unfulfilled due to various reasons. But that did not extinguish his passion for sports. Joginder has been coaching Rohit and the rest of the students at the Bougainvillea Garden in the city. "I have no space. I have been training there for the last 10 years or so. I have no money to build an academy," Joginder, who works for Punjab Police, said.
"I talk about my practice with my officers sometimes. They give me relaxations sometimes and encourage me."
There is of course still a long road ahead of both Rohit and Joginder. He is 15 (will complete 16 on September 25) and how he builds on this performance in the next three, four years will be critical. And the coach is aware of the same but he is encouraged by his ward's performance and is hopeful that more students, who train under him, can go on to make names in the future.
"I have provided all the equipment. I ensure that the students don't suffer. I also ensure that the students take it seriously, otherwise, they'll hear from me," he said.
Bharat Joon (+81kg) also marched into the finals with a 5-0 win over Razhapov Emir-Khan of Kyrgyzstan. However, Ankush (66kg) lost by the unanimous verdict against Erkinboev Fazliddin of Uzbekistan.
Later, Muskan (44-46kg) matched Bharat's score to enter the final in the junior girls' category. Devika Satyjit (50kg) lost against Nematova Shahina of Uzbekistan to crash out. Aarsoo (54kg) also suffered a similar fate, losing by a narrow margin (3-2) against Uzbekistan's Tileubergenova Guldana. Supriya Rawat (66kg) also lost to Bozorboeva Sanobar of Uzbekistan 4-1.