Asian Games 2018 gold medalist, Amit Panghal has been nominated for the second highest sporting honour of the country after the Khel Ratna by the federation for the second time in two years. The 23-year-old had to move up to the 52kg category this year but he still won a gold in Asian Championship.
Panghal has had a brilliant 2018 where he, then fighting in the 49 kg category, defeated Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in Jakarta. Following that, he was nominated for the award for the first time but his previous failed dope test in 2012, which had resulted in a year ban eventually led to him missing it.
However, Panghal remained unmoved by it and started 2019 with a bang by winning a gold medal at the Strandja memorial tournament in Bulgaria. The sudden reduction in categories from 10 to eight, just a year prior to the Tokyo Olympics, might have thrown the Indian boxers off gear but Panghal remained unaffected.
Panghal moved up to the 52kg category after the Strandja memorial tournament as he took a huge gamble in the Asian Boxing Championship. However, what was supposed to be mere participation to assess the status of his opponents in the new weight category, eventually turned into yet another gold medal for Panghal, who defeated Korea's Kim Inkyu to clinch the yellow metal.
It left the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) with no other chance but to nominate the talented pugilist yet again for the prestigious award, hoping that he would make the cut this time around. Apart from Panghal, Gaurav Bidhuri has also been nominated while women’s assistant coach Sandhya Gurung and former women’s chief coach Shiv Singh have been recommended for the Dronacharya Award.
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