Nishan Manohar Kadam’s village in Belagavi, Mannur, was among the worst-hit in the floods. On August 7, the day the 19-year-old boxer had to catch a train to Bengaluru for the state-level championship, the water surrounding his house and village was right up to his head. The three roads to his place were all damaged or submerged and cordoned off by rescue workers. Nishan and his father Manohar, a farmer, knew what had to be Lugging the boxing kit tightly wrapped in plastic, father and son swam for 45 minutes, covering 2.5km, and reached the main road to join the Belagavi district team. And three days after that journey, Nishan won silver in his category in Bengaluru on Sunday.
“I was waiting for this event and didn’t want to miss it at any cost,” said a jubilant Nishan. “Since our area was surrounded by water and no vehicles could enter, we had no other option but to swim.” Although the teenager lost gold in the Light Flyweight category to Bharath from Bengaluru, he was happy about his performance. “This time I lost gold because of my bad luck. Next year, I will surely win gold,” he said. Nishan, a Class XII student at Jyothi PU College in Belagavi started boxing two years ago under Arjuna awardee Captain Mukund Killekar at MG’s Sporting Academy. Team manager Gajendra S Tripathi said the situation has been tough for the past few days. “Since it is risky to travel, many parents didn’t allow their kids to come. Even Nishan missed practice for many days but when he heard about the championship, he said he had to there. He told us he would swim across so we arranged to pick him up from the nearest motorable road,” Tripathi said.
Nishan and his father swam from their house around 3.45pm and reached the main road around 4.30pm. “He joined six other members of the team from the academy and we took the train to Bengaluru that night. Nishan’s story and his performance have made this year’s championship a special one,” said Tripathi. “Despite these hardships, the boy performed well in all the rounds in the event,” said Sai Satish N, secretary for Karnataka Amateur Boxing Association. As many as 248 participants representing 19 teams vied for honours in six categories during the three-day event that ended on Sunday.