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Punching his way to glory

Saturday, January 13, 2018
By Parth Khatau

BMC school kid clinches first prize in national boxing tournament in Varanasi

In spite of his meagre means, 12-year-old Usman Ansari has defied odds to bring home the top prize whilst winning a national level boxing tournament in Varanasi.

In the afterglow of his success, Usman, a 7th standard student of Madanpura Vocational Urdu School run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is hungry for more and feels this is just the start of greater things. "I am obviously really happy to have won the tournament and would like to thank my parents, my coach and school auothorities who have backed me throughout my journey. However, I feel this is just the start and that my best is yet to come," said Usman. "I want to take part in more competitive tournaments and win more medals to make my parents proud," he added.

Usman put on  gloves when he was just nine years old , taking part in competitive tournaments since he was 10. His P.E. (Physical Education) teacher, Raghunath Dawne is confident that if given the right backing from authorities and with the right attitude, the sky is the limit for Usman. "He is a very talented boy, no doubt," said Dawne. "However, we must be aware that he is still very young and he needs to enjoy himself too. Usman loves boxing the most but is equally good at other sports and physical activities and we must not stop him from doing that and only focusing on boxing so soon," he added. "His attitude is first class and he loves training. However, he needs to make sure he does not neglect his studies."

On the topic of academics, Usman is equally good in the classroom as he is on the playground, according to his father, Sultan Ansari. "I understand how big a deal it is for my son to win the tournament and he has received a fair number of allocades earlier too. However, he needs to keep his feet on the ground and make sure he balances studying and sports," said Ansari. "I am proud of his acheivements but it is too early to start dreaming," he added.

His father's cautious approach to his potential stardom, however, does not stop Usman from dreaming big. When asked what he wants to achieve eventually in life, the 12-year-old immediately answered, "I want to represent India in the Olympics one day. I train from 6 pm to 9 pm every day after school and look forward to that the most in a day. One day, my dream will come true," he added.

Usman lives on the streets with his parents who find it diffuclt to make ends meet on a daily basis. His father, once again echoed his fears saying, "I am not against him boxing but that cannot be at the cost of his studies as he needs to know he is responsibilities and priorities in life in the future and that is earning the bread for his family, however that may be."

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