From taking loans from his friends and relatives to selling his car once to support his daughter Nitu Ghanghas’ boxing ambitions, Jai Bhagwan had left no stone unturned to keep his and her daughter’s dreams alive.
The Dhanana village resident, who works as a bill messenger in Haryana Vidhan Sabha and is currently facing a departmental inquiry over his continuous absence from job, was all ecstatic on Sunday afternoon as his daughter Nitu became the Commonwealth Games champion with a unanimous 5-0 verdict over England’s Demie Jade Resztan in the women’s 48 kg boxing final in Birmingham.
“Nitu toh desh ki shaan ban gayi. Yeh gold medal toh asli sona hai hamare liye (Nitu has become the pride of the whole nation. This gold medal is more than actual gold for us). In 2016, I had sold our car to support her training for the world youth championship and have taken loans from friends and bank to support her training as I am not getting salary due to my absence at job. But to see her become the Commonwealth Games champion is more than anything for me. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated Nitu. What else can a father ask for?” says an emotional Jai Bhagwan while speaking to The Indian Express.
The Haryana youngster along with friend Sakshi Chaudhary used to travel to Bhiwani Boxing Club to train under Jagdish Singh, a coach who has trained the likes of 2008 Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh.
When she became the youth national bronze medallist in 2016, Bhagwan skipped office to support Nitu’s training for the 2017 World Youth Championships and took loan from the village bank to keep things going.
When Nitu won two successive world youth championship titles in 2017 and 2018 in Guwahati and Budapest respectively, the family had to wait for two long agonising years to get the much-needed cash awards by the Haryana government, thanks to the change in sports policy.
“My husband has only thought about Nitu and her boxing dreams. Sometimes, I also wondered what he would get from this. But he used to say that he wants to see Nitu win a medal for India. I came to know much later that he was not getting his salary as he was skipping office in Chandigarh. Even at present, we are surviving without his salary. It was from Nitu’s cash award that we paid the fee of our second daughter’s medical studies in Shimla. Also, the expenses of our younger son’s shooting equipment for participating in competitions were paid from Nitu’s money,” says mother Mukesh.
“Mere father ne mujhe itna support kia mujhe yahan tak lane main toh medal main unko aur pure desh ko dedicate karna chahiti hun (My father has always supported me, helped me reach here, come what may. I dedicate this medal to him and the whole country),” Nitu said while talking to The Indian Express from Birmingham.
At the Bhiwani Boxing Club also, the atmosphere was euphoric. Coach Jagdish Singh was on cloud nine and was seen distributing sweets to the trainees in all excitement.
With more than 50 girls and 100 boys training at the academy, Jagdish Singh is proud of Nitu’s feat and has now set his sights on 2024 Paris Olympics.
“She had won the world youth title twice, but this gold medal at the Commonwealth Games will give a major boost to her career. Winning at the senior level will motivate her to achieve more in the coming years. Her CWG medal will be shown to the trainees and her medal-winning moment will be displayed along with photos of other international boxers of our academy,” said Jagdish Singh.
Mother Mukesh has already planned a menu for her daughter’s welcome party.
“Nitu’s father always makes sure that she has fresh ‘desi ghee ka churma’ whenever she is at the national camp. He will travel all the way to the camp and give it to her. This time also when she returns from Birmingham, I am sure she will ask for her favourite ‘churma’. We plan to celebrate her return with that,” said Mukesh.
Nitu is a former student of Guru Gobind Singh College for Women at Sector 26 in Chandigarh. She attended classes when she was not in the national camp. The college principal, Dr Jatinder Kaur, and the sports teacher, Dr Amolak Singh Bhullar, congratulated her on her tremendous achievement.