With help from Ali and Rocky, Manish Kaushik defeats fear, wins gold

By last December, Manish Kaushik was physically ready to rejoin the camp after the surgery on his right bicep. But there was a mental block, and coaches CA Kuttappa and Santiago Nieva could sense the fear. The coaches had a sit-down with the 25-year-old, who opened up over the next few sparring sessions.

“The injury meant that I had a mental block in terms of international competition as well as fear of injuring the bicep again initially,” says the 25-year-old. “But once the coaches and I realised that I was playing without the fear, it was about executing the plans in Spain.”

The plans paid off as the light-welterweight boxer struck gold at the Boxam International Tournament in Spain in his return to competition in over a year. “To have wins against boxers like world number four Safiullin Zakir and other European boxers in Spain has put me in a perfect mental shape ahead of the Olympics,” Kaushik said.