In the Bollywood movie Lagaan, a bowler of unique style from Bhuvan’s village team troubles the English batsmen in their do-or-die cricket match. They can’t pick him because he rotates the arm several times before delivering the ball.
The English captain, at the non-striker’s end, then finds a clue. He spots that before releasing the ball, the bowler makes a grunting sound. From then on, it is sheer carnage, as the poor bowler is carted all over the ground.
The small segment in the movie illustrates the importance of observation in sport. Amit Panghal’s gold medal win in boxing over Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov on Saturday too was built on such an observation, made possible by alert coaches and aided by technology.
“I had prepared well for this bout. He is a southpaw and we had watched his videos, studying his techniques and his shortcomings,” said Amit.
The coaches observed that just before unleashing his left hook, Dusmatov has the habit of bending his knee in a certain way. That was drilled into Amit’s mind and he managed to pick it during the bout, blunting the Uzbek’s weapon.
“I wanted to stay away from his left hook and the coaches’ tips helped me to avoid getting hit,” said Amit.
Amit’s splendid rise has seen him winning the Commonwealth Games silver this year but he felt the Asiad gold medal was extra special.
“This certainly is my biggest achievement yet, especially because I beat the Olympic champion. I have seen his Olympics bout and have fought him also previously. To fight him, to beat him, is really special,” said the son of a farmer in Mayna village of Haryana’s Rohtak district.
Amit said after the Commonwealth Games, he had worked on his strength and stamina. “My preparation has been good and I am more experienced now.”
Rewards will naturally follow for the new star in Indian boxing and Amit expected his life to witness a change. “It will certainly change for the better when one wins a gold medal. But I will keep working hard for future contests,” he said.