NEW DELHI: Boxer Deepak Kumar returned home with a silver medal after reaching the finals of the Strandja Memorial Tournament, but the pugilist isn't too excited. The boxer says that no one remembers a silver medal and now he has set his sights on winning a gold medal going into the future.
The biggest win for Deepak came in the semi-finals of the tournament as he stunned the reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov in the men's 52 kg bout.
In an interaction with ANI, Deepak spoke about his experience of playing in the tournament and how he would like to qualify for the Olympics - in the future -- even though he finds himself in the same weight category as that of Amit Panghal.
"The experience of playing in the Strandja Memorial Tournament was very good. The semi-final bout I had with the Olympic champion was nice, I felt ecstatic after winning that particular bout. The gold medal is a gold medal, everyone remembers who won the gold medal. People forget who played nicely in the tournament. I will always feel that I missed on winning a gold medal," Deepak said.
"In the final, I did not have a good first round, so the decision of the final bout got affected by that," he added.
Deepak, who hails from Hisar, Haryana, started boxing at the age of just 11. However, in 2009, due to financial constraints, he was forced to leave boxing as he couldn't afford the expenses of diet and training. His coach Rajesh Sheoran then helped him to return to the ring. Deepak had won a gold medal in the 2018 Senior National Boxing Championships and he also bagged a silver at the 2019 Asian Boxing Championships. He had also returned with a gold medal from the 2019 Makran Cup.
"I started boxing in 2008 then I left the sport in 2009 for some seven-eight months. In 2010, I played for Haryana in State Championships where I was able to win a medal. In 2012, I became a state champion. After that, the federation got banned and the competitions were not taking place. At that moment, I got a bit scared as to what might happen. I started thinking as to whether I will achieve something in boxing," said the 23-year-old.
"My chachaji (uncle) had knowledge about the game and he has a friend circle who knew about this sport. My chachaji was not able to make it big in boxing as he did not get the desired guidance, so he made me aware of the sport and he told me about the benefits of boxing. He gave me the passion for this sport," he added.
When asked about his weight category and how he sees himself being in the same category as Panghal, Deepak replied: "Amit Panghal has already qualified for Olympics. I will do my best going into the future, if I do well, I will get a chance going ahead."
"Strandja Tournament was taking place after one year and hence, I was always determined to do well. I now want to work on my shortcomings and I am determined to do well in the tournaments which I will be participating in going forward," he added.