Asian Games medallist Amit Panghal on Tuesday was nominated for the prestigious Arjuna award by the Boxing Federation of India.
Amit Panghal had won a gold medal in the Men’s light flyweight (49 kg) bout at the 2018 Asian Games. Amit stunned 25-year-old Olympic gold medallist Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan 3-2 (Win on points) in the final. The 22-year-old pugilist from Haraya became the eighth Indian boxer to clinch an Asian Games gold.
“I am honoured to be nominated, I can’t describe how happy I am. My medal is talking for me and that is what I have always wanted,” Amit told news agency PTI.
Amit had bagged top honours in the 2018 Strandja Memorial Tournament (Bulgaria) and the India Open (Delhi). He had won a silver in the Commonwealth Games in Australia and a bronze in the 2017 Asian Championships.
The boxer’s doping record, however, raised doubts over his nomination considering the rules of the sports ministry, which hold an athlete, penalised for doping, ineligible for the Khel Ratna and the Arjuna award. Amit was banned for two years after testing positive for an anabolic steroid in 2012. The punishment was later reduced to one year on the grounds of a first-time offence. The BFI decided to send his name to the ministry as he had already served the suspension and that the violation happened while he was competing at the youth level.
“It happened when I was just a kid who knew nothing. I was a teenager and had come to my village after being diagnosed with chickenpox, there was probably something in the medicine that the doctor gave me,” Amit told PTI.
The 22-year-old pugilist from Haraya, who became the eighth Indian boxer to clinch an Asian Games gold, joins Sonia Lather and Gaurav Bidhuri in the list of boxing nominees for the sporting honour.