Akash Kumar wanted to place his national boxing title, which earned him a berth at the World Championship next month which is scheduled in October, at the feet of his mother. But he did not know that his mother had passed away on September 14, a day before the tournament kicked off.
“Yesterday evening, I was showing off the medal at the ceremony. I was celebrating, hoping the medal will put her in good spirits,” Akash told The Indian Express.
His mother Santosh died of a lung infection after contracting a viral fever earlier this month.
“I reached home around 2 pm today and all the relatives were there. Nobody said anything. They just showed me the photo of my mother. I don’t know how to process this. The last time we spoke, she made me promise that I will bring the gold medal home,” he added.
The Services boxer from Haryana was kept from the heart-breaking news by his uncle Bhawar Singh and coach Narender Rana.
“There was always this fear that he would ask me why I didn’t inform him. Before Akash left, his mother told him, ‘I am here at a private hospital. Our relatives are with me. There is no need to worry. You go and win’. The son fulfilled the promise. Par paramatma ne saath nahi diya (God didn’t help), she couldn’t celebrate with her son,” Bhawar said.
Akash though said he understood why he wasn’t told.
“I know they kept it to themselves for my own good. I would have left the tournament midway. The run that I had, the top boxers that I defeated this week… I assure you, now I understand that it was all because my mother was in my corner,” he said.
Services coach Rana had discussed the matter with Bhawar.
“We decided that we wouldn’t tell him… seene pe patthar rakh ke (with a heavy heart),” says Rana. “There were posts about his mother’s death on Facebook. So I took his and the rest of the team’s phones so he couldn’t find out. I told him, ‘You need to stay focussed on the ring’. During training sessions, my eyes would well up but I couldn’t let him figure out that something was wrong. After each win, my hug was a little bit longer than usual,” he said.
Akash was told his mother was not doing well, when he had managed to call home using a fellow competitor’s phone during the tournament.
“I asked uncle about my mother and he said, “She’s not doing too well. But it’s okay. You focus on the bouts.”
At stake was the national title and a berth to the World Championships, a huge breakthrough after a struggle-filled journey.Internet Explorer Channel Network