Akhil Kumar, who was being considered as one of the boxing medal prospects for India in the London Olympics, has become a victim of overweight. The pugilist's hopes of making it to the Olympics were dashed after he failed to reduce weight in time to take part in the Asian Continental Olympic qualification tournament, to be held in Astana ( Kazakhstan) in April.
The boxer, who was gearing up to participate in the 61 kg event at the World Series Boxing (though he didn't play a single match), could not be eligible to participate in the Olympic qualifiers' bantam-weight category (56 kg). The boxer had come for the national trials in Patiala last week, where he was declared 'overweight', leading to his exclusion from the national team.
Though Akhil was informed about the criteria for the Olympic qualifiers, the boxer failed to reduced weight. "At the time of trials, he was overweight by 2kg, so we had to keep him out of the process. Though he didn't play any match in the WSB, yet he was preparing for the 61 kg event. He tried hard to reduce weight but failed," Indian Amateur Boxing Federation secretary general PK Muralidharan Raja told TOI.
When TOI caught up with Akhil, the boxer admitted that his chances of making it to the Olympics were gone. "I had a calf muscle pull, as a result of which I failed to reduce weight. I could neither fight in the WSB, nor in the qualifiers. This is what life is all about," he said.
The boxer feels had the Federation given him a couple of weeks more, he would have made it. "As a senior player, I had requested them to give me two weeks more. I know there are formalities, but they could have tried," Akhil added.
"We had to complete all the formalities by March 3, so we had to come to a decision. Even his physios advised him not to take extra pressure as that could lead to injuries," was Raja's reply. Admitting that Akhil's absence was disappointing, Raja however, pinned hopes on the youngsters Shiva Thapa and Sumit Sangwan.
Team for qualifiers
M Suranjoy (52 kgs), Shiva Thapa (56 kgs), Vijender Singh (75 kgs), Sumit Sangwan (81 kgs), Manpreet Singh (91 kgs), Paramjeet Samota (91+ kgs).