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Chhote Lal Yadav: The Unsung Hero
Chhote Lal Yadav is an unsung hero. He is the man who has given a rebirth of legendary Indian woman boxer Mary Kom. The Manipuri boxer’s roaring success such as the gold medal in the 2017 Asian Championship, the first-ever gold medal by an Indian boxer in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018, and the sixth-time gold medal in World Championship in 2018-all had come under the tutelage of Chhote Lal Yadav. The 35-year-old coach is still her coach.
Yadav who resides in Varanasi and is an employee of the Indian Army in Pune was himself a three-time national champion and a gold medalist in the South Asian Games in the 56kg category, and silver medalist World Military championship. More significantly, Chhote Lal Yadav has been the only Indian who is a two-star coach certified by the AIBA (Association of International Boxing Amateurs).
Chotte Lal Yadav On Mary Kom
Chhote Lal Yadav was appointed by Mary Kom after the women’s national championship in 2015. When asked what changes he brought in Mary’s development, Chhote Lal talking over the phone from Pune revealed,
“I changed Mary’s training pattern and format. Every successful player does hard work. But you have to know the pattern and style of hard work. At that time she was 32 years old, and a mother of three children. So, I had to care about her age. She could not be put in the heavy lead in training. I started preventive training for her so that she could avoid injuries and in this perspective, the physiotherapist and strength-conditioning trainer also played crucial roles in keeping her fit. Then we went to England for training. I bought Theraband there, a modern instrument for boxing that was not used previously. In this way, Mary started advanced training under my tutelage.”
The 39-year-old Mary has now been resting at her home in Manipur after an ACL operation. Yadav feels,
“Once she gets fully cured then we will start training and decide whether she will be back in the competitions such as Asian Games next year. Mary will be 40 years old next year. If the organizing committee of the Asian games allows her participation then she can. But at the moment her chances of participation are 50-50.”
The Psychological Factor
Yadav asserted that Mary Kom herself is an example of motivation. Yadav said,
“Mary Kom is psychologically so strong that she herself has been the example of inspiration. Still, I tell her about legendary boxer Mohammad Ali’s fight, his struggle, and his majestic style of boxing. As Mohammad Ali used music therapy during his training Mary also listens to music while training and before the crucial match to make her concentration solid. “
The Dream of Chhote Lal Yadav
Uttar Pradesh does not have any proper residential boxing schools. Yadav said,
“I dream of constructing a world-class boxing school where poor boys and girls can learn boxing and reach the international standard. I have dreams of producing more Mary Kom in the future.”
Even, in a bid to fulfill his dream, Yadav disclosed he has plans to go to Cuba in future. Cuba is called ‘the cradle of boxing’. Yadav said, the coach also said he wants all the boxers in Indian Army to reach the international level and bring medals.
“Once in 2009 I went to Cuba to participate in a competition. I became runner-up there. But I have the desire to go there once more to learn how their renowned boxing coaches teach the game at the grass route level.”