“Neither of us said anything. We both cried.”
The call from 17-year-old Vishwanath to his father Suresh, after winning gold at the Youth Asian Boxing Championships in Amman, Jordan, contains a few words.
“We cried because whatever Vishwanath wished I was doing. All the wishes I had, my son was fulfilling,” said Suresh. After the call, she returned to the women’s wardrobe she worked for at her small sewing shop in Chennai’s Perambur.
Suresh had been a boxer himself – and talented at the time – winning numerous gold and silver medals at the state level and silver in the sub junior nationals in 1995. However, just three years later, he was about to leave the ring. “I loved boxing. But money was not in the game. I came from a very poor family. I was the eldest and had four younger sisters to marry. I could have chosen to chase this game or take care of my family. . I had to put my dreams to one side. That’s how I got into sewing, “she says.
Suresh never forgot his first love, though. When the time came, she passed it on to her son. “When I was in the fifth grade, my dad started boxing training. At first I hated it. Who likes to be beaten? But he would tell me stories of great players and tell me I could be like them. And the more I practiced, the more I enjoyed boxing,” recalls Vishwanath.
While Chennai had a few boxing clubs, Suresh knew his son would not progress as much as he would in a special place. The two will travel to Bangalore twice where they will be tested at the boys’ sports company MEG (Madras Engineer Group) and rejected on both occasions due to the small Vishwanath building, which coaches would later say was due to malnutrition.
“At the time I didn’t want to do boxing anymore. I told my dad I was going to be rejected. But he kept pushing me to try another one,” Vishwanath said.
That effort was the election of the Army Sports Institute in Pune. “I didn’t know anything about Pune. The trial lasted a week, so I had to close my shop and borrow money to pay for our trip and stay in Pune and support the whole family in Chennai. But it was an easy decision to make,” said Suresh.
When they arrived in Pune, Vishwanath found himself competing – in his memory of 1,500 other applicants – a total of 6 places. Fortunately, he was not immediately rejected because of his height. “They let me box and show them my ability,” he said. A talented figure from a few years ago by his father, Vishwanath beat many rivals, impressed coaches and was selected for ASI.
While at ASI, Vishwanath’s has grown 21 cm to stand five feet and two inches now, while adding more muscle. His physical advancement eventually caught up with his professional skills.
“He has a lot of ideas that young people his age can do. He doesn’t just look at the hands but he is very smart. India in Jordan.
Over the years, Vishwanath won gold medals at the national junior and youth championships. This was followed by success at the international level – gold at the 2019 Asian Junior Championships and silver at last year’s Asian Youth Championships. This year he has gone through tough brackets beating Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan boxers on the way to the summit.
Currently in his final year as a young athlete – Vishwanath will have to start running in the big leagues from next season. “There is a huge difference in energy level for an 18-year-old and a 25-year-old. He is improving every day. He is someone we have high hopes for,” Arif said.
Vishwanath can be clear about his future path. “My father is always very happy with any competition I enter. Whatever he wishes I do slowly. There is a dream he has left for the Olympics. It has always been his dream to hear the national anthem at the Olympics. I will try my best to achieve that again. I will not give up until I have won that, ”he said.