At 10.30 pm Thursday, Delhi Police head constable Ravinder Joon (45) and his wife huddled in front of a phone and watched their 14-year-old son deliver a winning bout at the Asian Schoolboy Boxing Champion-ships 2019 in Kuwait. An hour later, Joon got a video call from his son Bharat, informing him about the gold medal he just bagged.
“Bharat is passionate about boxing and is aiming to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Before ASBC games, we were scared about his well being because the sport is dangerous. Now, we are sure he is a great player and can take care of himself,” said Joon, who is posted with the Crime Branch in Rohini.
Bharat left for the games with his coach from Delhi on August 2. He won the bout 5-0 against Kyrgyzstan’s Asanbekov Atai in the 70 kg category in the under-14 boxing championship.
Joon hails from Haryana’s Jhajjar and has been working with Delhi Police for a decade. His son started training at the age of 12. “After he saw Vijender Singh on TV two years ago, Bharat decided to take up boxing. His grandmother didn’t like the sport and told Bharat to concentrate on studies. We tried to explain to him that being a sportsman is not easy… Eventually, I shifted to a rented flat near a boxing stadium where he trained,” said Joon.
Bharat’s parents said he had to change his diet and habits overnight. His mother Manju (40) said: “My husband would wake up at 4 am and prepare a meal for Bharat so he could exercise. He would later join him for a two-hour run at 5 am. He drove him to his district- and state-level games. It was difficult because Joon is the breadwinner, and maintaining a strict diet for a boxer costs a lot.”
The boy has won four championships since June 2019, his father said. He started with district- and state-level games and later won a gold medal in boxing at the National Boxing Academy in Rohtak on July 2.