x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Indian welterweight boxer's paternal pledge

Olympics 2012: Vikas Yadav will draw on all of his skill and determination to return with a medal and fulfil a promise he made to his father.

Vikas Yadav, centre, comes from Haryana state, a hotbed of boxing in India.
Vikas Yadav, centre, comes from Haryana state, a hotbed of boxing in India.

NEW DELHI // The Indian welterweight Vikas Krishan Yadav will draw on all of his skill, discipline and determination to return from London with an Olympic medal and fulfil a promise he made to his father.

"Father told me: 'Get me a medal from London and I would not ask for anything from you again.' I, too, have promised him to give my best in London," Yadav said. "I have always listened to whatever he says.

Yadav, a soft-spoken 20-year-old, comes from the north Indian state of Haryana, which has been steadily supplying the bulk of India's boxers, including the 2008 Beijing bronze medallist Vijender Singh.

Yadav offers an interesting explanation as to why the area is a hotbed for pugilists.

"People in Haryana are very hard working. There are not many rich people there, so a lot of people engage in sports like boxing.

"People there like fight movies. We have that kind of culture in Haryana - naturally, people are like that. People in south India like studying a lot; those in Haryana like boxing," he said.

However, Yadav concedes to disliking some facets of the ancient sport. "Actually, I don't like playing this game," said Yadav, who won the lightweight gold at the 2010 Asian Games before making a transition up one weight class to welterweight.

"I like to avoid the time in ring because there you cannot be hitting all the time. You have to take some punches, too, and no one likes that. I hate being hit," he said.

Once he hangs up his gloves, Yadav is hoping to spend more time improving his chess skills.

"I do like playing chess but now my younger siblings defeat me at the game.

"After I am done with boxing, I would like to try my hands at chess because there is no age-limit."

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