Gold Coast: Manoj Kumar, whose ancestry goes back to the third battle of Panipat, is a rare Indian boxer to have claimed two Commonwealth Games medals. Manoj signed off with a bronze medal at the ongoing edition in the welterweight 69kg division after losing to England’s Pat McCormack last night.
Manoj Kumar, born 10 December 1986, is an Indian boxer who won a gold medal in the light welterweight division at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He hails from the village of Rajound in the Kaithal district of Haryana.
His is a rare feat which has also been achieved by a certain Vijender Singh but minus the gold medal.
The 31-year-old Manoj’s many medals are punctuated by a number of stories of disappointment as well but his thoughts have never veered towards giving up, much like the small army of Marathas that fought the Afghan invaders way back in 1761.
“A Maratha in Haryana, how does that even sound? I belong to the Ror community, descendants of the Maratha soldiers who fought Afghans during the battle of Panipat. Fighting spirit runs in my veins. Giving up is never ever an option for me,” said the two-time Asian Championships bronze-medallist.
The many battles of his life include fighting for a promotion with his employers the Railways Sports Promotion Board, something that was promised to him after the 2010 CWG gold but was never delivered.
Then there are the sponsors. Despite being one of India’s most consistent performers in the last decade, Manoj has never quite caught the eye of sponsors and he can’t understand why.
Even his Arjuna award in 2014 didn’t come without a fight. He had to move the court after being overlooked despite fulfilling the requisite criteria as per a points system put in place by the Sports Ministry.
“I have only my elder brother and coach Rajesh as my support system professionally. I am not somebody who warms up easily to anyone,” a surprising comment from someone who is a player’ representative in the Boxing Federation of India’s executive committee.
He has represented India twice in the Olympics, losing in pre-quarters on both occasions but not without delivering his signature give-it-all performances. That has, in fact, been a hallmark of his career.