He completed the NIS coaching course because his career was not taking off. However, a podium finish at the Hisar meet has raised his hopes.
A year ago, Mohd Aarif Wani was on the verge of quitting boxing to become a coach. Even though he was a top boxer from Jammu and Kashmir who had won medals at the school national and the North Zone meet, he wasn’t sure where his career was going.
His top priority was to find a steady job to support his family. In a family of five, his father held an odd job in a shop and was the only one earning money.
Aarif took a coaching course at the National Institute of Sport (NIS) in order to make a living from boxing as pressure mounted on him.
He trained hard, however, in preparation for the Elite Men’s Senior National Boxing Championships in Hisar, which ended on Saturday because the ring’s pull was too strong.
It changed everything. In the category of tough flyweight, Aarif took home bronze. It was becoming difficult to maintain financially.
Aarif, who won three rounds to reach the semifinals, stated, “They also ask me about my next step. They have been very supportive.”
From the twelve competitors, the Jammu and Kashmir boxers outperformed themselves to win two medals. Additionally, Chander Dev Singh (80 kg) won bronze.
Under Anil Wadhera’s direction, both train at the Jammu Maulana Azad Stadium. The two boxers hope that their performances will change the state’s sport.
There are very few amenities available. We do not have enough advanced equipment or punching bags. So, it’s big for us to win two medals. We hope that it inspires other state boxers.
Chander Dev stated, “We can perform better if we acquire good infrastructure.” The academy has 30-35 children. When there is competition, we typically train completely.
The national championships have been our primary focus for the past six months. Although Aarif’s parents moved to Jammu because of the trouble in the area, their family is originally from Doda.
He started boxing at school in Jammu thanks to a mentor, and he continues to go to his Doda village to train children there in the future.
“I visit my community; Now things are better. Mountainous and backward, it is a region. People put in a lot of effort, but they are so preoccupied with making a living that it is hard to get kids into sports.
Aarif exclaimed with pride, pointing to the medal he wore around his neck, “I took the course so that I can teach boxing to some of the kids.”
Training ceased during Covid, and Aarif became uncertain about his future. I considered taking up coaching after putting off boxing for some time to concentrate on my studies.
He’s dreamed big since winning the bronze. He wants a job and is eagerly awaiting a call from the national camp. I had no idea I would win a medal at this event. It is extremely difficult for us.
The boxers hailing from Haryana and other states are of the highest caliber. However, my coach encouraged me by stating that we had the chance to make history, and we went above and beyond.