Watchman’s son Akash Gorkha eyes boxing gold for Goa
Merely six months before the 37th National Games Goa, Akash Gorkha shifted base to the coastal state and won the open boxing trials to cement his spot in the 37th National Games. On Tuesday, Akash ensured that the hosts will have a shot at the gold medal in the men’s Light welter weight division at the Peddem Indoor Stadium here.
Akash’s reached the final with a thumping 5-0 win over Maharashtra’s Yash Raju in the semi-finals and will now face Olympian Manish Kaushik in the summit clash on Wednesday.
“It was a comfortable win, and Akash was expected to reach the final. The final will be crucial tomorrow, as he will be up against Olympian, and an experienced boxer in Manish. We have done our homework and will come prepared for the final,” quipped Goa coach Santosh Birmole.
“Akash came to Goa six months back as he was posted here near the Bambolim Stadium. He appeared for the open trials that we conducted to choose the boxers for participating at the National Games. We chose the best boxer in each category, and today Akash has proved himself,” the coach added.
Aakash, whose father Ramesh moved to Pune 25 years ago from Nepal and works as a security guard, developed interest in boxing after watching the sport in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, held in Delhi. However, his father’s meagre earnings, made it difficult to pursue the dream of making a career in sport before being spotted by coach Umesh Jagdale.
“My father works as a security guard in one of the residential complexes in Sadashiv Peth locality of Pune. I started watching boxing on TV in 2010 and started growing interest in the sport. But it wasn’t easy to afford as my father would have to manage the family too,” said Akash, who also has a younger brother.
During those days, Akash, who stayed in a parking shade near the locality, used to play at one of the parks surrounding the residential complexes with the local kids when Jagdale spotted him. After discussions with his father, the coach got him admitted to the Maharashtra Institute of Games and Sports.
Akash reposed the faith of his coach by winning a silver medal at the 2017 Junior Boxing
Championship, before finishing second in the 2018 Nations Junior Cup in Vrbas, Serbia, which earned him a place at the famed Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune. Two years later, he won a bronze at the Youth Nationals before making his way into the senior circuit.
Interestingly, Akash’s opponent in the final of the 37th National Games is also a product of the same academy, and it will be interesting to see who has the last laugh on Wednesday.