This man has been on unpaid leave for 3 years to train daughter, India’s golden girl Nitu Ghanghas

Young Indian boxer Nitu Ghanghas dedicated the gold medal she won at the Commonwealth Games 2022 to her devoted father Jai Bhagwan, who did everything in his power to support his daughter’s aspirations. Bhagwan, a worker at the Haryana government, has been training Nitu, a two-time World Youth champion, during his three years of unpaid vacation.

As Nitu stood on the stage on Sunday with the gold medal around her neck, all the sacrifices looked to have been worthwhile. The 21-year-old is a formidable force within the ring but comes across as extremely bashful outside of it. When she speaks, you hardly hear her voice.

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Nitu had to be led out of the mixed zone and into a corner designated for television interviews since the cries of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” at the temporary stands inside the National Exhibition Centre here made the atmosphere noisier.

“The greatest feeling was to see the Tricolour going up, one of my long-standing wishes was fulfilled today. I’m thankful for everyone’s blessings… this medal is for our fellow countrymen and father (Jai Bhagwan),” Nitu told PTI.

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“Koi kasar nahi chhoda unhone mere liye. He has not left any stone unturned and gone through many hardships but always ensured that I get the best. I would not be here without him.”

Nitu’s personality changes as she enters the ring. Her trainer refers to her as the ring’s “Gabbar Sherni.”

“She’s always been like that. Even at the camp or outside, you would hardly get to hear the voice, she hardly talks but inside the ring, she’s like a ‘Gabbar Sherni’,” said her India coach Bhaskar Chandra Bhatt.

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Picked for her maiden CWG in place of her ‘idol’ and six-time world champion Mary Kom, who got injured, Nitu was unstoppable.

“Mary Kom ma’am ki jagah ek alagh hi hai (She has a different place altogether). She has given an identity to Indian boxing on the global stage. I’m nowhere in front of her,” the unassuming Nitu told PTI.

After her selection, Nitu was seen as the ‘next Mary Kom’ but the boxer prefers not to give any attention to the “talks”.

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“When I’m inside the ring, I’m clueless about the outside world and what’s going on around me, I just give it all.”

Just three months back, Nitu missed out on a World Championship medal, crashing out in the quarterfinal after a bout of fever.

“I had a fever the whole night and could not sleep. But thankfully this time there was no such thing,” she remembers about her loss to Kazakhstan’s Alua Balkibekova 2-3 in the quarters.

A day after her win via RSC (referee-stops-contest) in the semis, Nitu outpunched the local favourite Demie-Jade Resztan, a 2019 World Championship bronze and European silver medalist.

“I would say this is just the beginning for her. There are more good things in store for her,” Bhatt said of Nitu.

(With PTI inputs)

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