Have made my peace with what happened in past: Sumit Sangwan on failed dope test 

For any athlete, a dope cheat tag is his or her worst nightmare. No matter how big sportsperson you are, but one mistake can ruin the career.

Sumit Sangwan is one such athlete, who unintentionally called trouble for himself last year when he failed a dope test. But he managed to prove his innocence and the one-year ban was lifted by the National Anti-doping Agency (NADA) later.

The period was not easy for the Indian boxer as he faced all sort of negative comments from everywhere.

But what kept him strong was his mother’s love and guidance. Speaking to Mail Today, Sumit talk about his positive mindset, helping hand and Tokyo Olympic qualifiers preparations.

“My mother use to accompany me everywhere. Whether it is hearing (NADA panel) in Delhi or meeting someone. She supported me throughout the period. That’s why I will like to take this opportunity to say thanks to her.

“I faced a lot of criticism from many people but my family helped me a lot. It is easy to say he is a dope cheat but one need to understand that it not always a cheating. There are lack of knowledge about it is also involved. I have learnt from this episode and is extra careful now,” said the 27-year-old boxer from Haryana.

Sumit said it was his belief that he is innocent that kept him going through the troubled times.

“I always kept my mind and heart strong that if I am innocent then nothing will happen to me. Yes there were time when I got worried but never let it took over my mind. I face a lot and also learnt a lot about life.

“I got to know that life is not easy and as fighter one should not run away. Just face it,” an emotional Sumit said.

The pugilist’s professional life has been full of struggle. Back in 2018, just before the Commonwealth Games trials, he suffered from typhoid but still gave it a shot. Expectedly he failed to secure a spot, but not before he won one bout.

“I was so weak that it felt like I was boxing blind,” he said. “I did not get my blood checked when I first fell ill. I would get a fever in the evening and when they checked it later, it was typhoid. I had to take part in those trials. But I had no power left. I was broken.”

Sangwan later also had to go under the knife twice due to injures and was in and out of the national boxing set-up; forcing him to prove his worth again and again.

Sangwan, however, feels such experiences have only made him better.

“I have made my peace with what happened with me in the past. I was in and out of the team but I cameback and proved my worth by reaching the Asian Championships final (2017) and World Championships quarter-finals (2016),” he added.

But the two surgeries have come to haunt him back as he struggled to drop weight to fit into his preferred 81kg category. This only left him with the option to jump to 91kg. Unperturbed by the challenge, Sangwan reign supreme with a National gold last year.

But for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Sangwan knows where his strength lies: “I will compete in 81kg.”

LOCKDOWN ROUTINE

With the decision came the COVID-19 enforced lockdown and as this is the first time that athletes have been kept away from the field for so long. It is not easy for them to practice among family members at home.

Sangwan, however, is sweating day and night at home in Shekhpura village, Karnal, to up his game as the boxer goes about his rigorous training routine diligently every morning before the sun breaks. Much to the annoyance of his neighbours, noises of sparring serves as an alarm clock to them.

“I don’t want to lose any time now. Tokyo Olympic has been postponed and I have time to prepare for qualifiers. I make my brother train with me as sparring partner,” Sangwan stated firmly.

“We get information from our coaches through watsapp. We send our videos to them. It is pretty helpful.”

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