Overcoming injuries, covid-19 boxer Rohit Tokas readies for Commonwealth Games debut
When injuries robbed boxer Rohit Tokas of a chance to compete at the World Championship and the Tokyo Olympics, he was devastated.
When injuries robbed boxer Rohit Tokas of a chance to compete at the World Championship and the Tokyo Olympics, he was devastated but the eternal optimist wasn't bogged down. The 28-year-old, who is set to make his Commonwealth Games debut in the men's 67kg, category, was pegged back by back-to-back injuries in 2018-2019.
"I suffered a ligament injury in 2018, which led to me missing out on the World Championships," Rohit said.
"Then I injured my ligament again in 2019. I had ligament injuries in both my knees. The left one during the India Open and then the right during the nationals."
Having defeated all the top Indian boxers in his weight category, Rohit was desperate to compete in the Olympic qualifiers but the nature of his injury was so severe that he couldn't risk worsening his knee
. "My target was the Olympics and I had defeated all the top boxers here. I was confident I could do well in the qualifiers and make it to the Olympics but then I got injured. It was very disheartening. "My injury was so severe that I was told by the doctor that if you play, your entire knee can get damaged. I felt that I had to be okay physically first to play. If I risked it, there was a chance I would never be able to box again," he said.
It is said that life works in mysterious ways and when the world was about to be enveloped by the COVID-19 virus, Rohit underwent a successful knee surgery and a couple of months later, he got married.
"After my surgery, the pandemic started. It was good for me as I got time to recover and I do my rehab. Slowly I started becoming fit. However, there were a few road bumps on the way. In the starting 2-3 months rehab went well but then everything shut down, I was doing what I could but in such a time one needs physio support. I used to keep consulting my team physio on the phone. It was quite difficult," Tokas said.
In a bid to get back to the ring, Rohit started venturing out for a run and ended up contracting the dreaded virus.
"After the first lockdown, I tested positive for COVID. I thought it was normal flu, and never took it seriously in the sense that I wasn't scared of it. If you get scared then you make yourself weak. "It wasn't very severe but I had headaches, which lasted 10-15 days, and lost my sense of smell. Thankfully, I didn't feel weakness after I got okay."
Armed with the quality to concentrate on the positives no matter what the situation, Rohit made a full recovery. The 2018 64kg national champion, who had moved up to 75kg ahead of the Olympics, dropped down to 67kg for the CWG.
"Till 2019 I played in 64kg but then after my injury, I moved to 75kg as I felt I had a better chance in that weight class. But my weight used to be around 71kg. I was always 4-5kg less and struggled to add weight. "Then for the CWG, I decided to take part in 67kg and it's working for me. I don't feel any weakness, having cut weight. I am comfortable in this category."
Although Rohit is confident of doing well at the CWG, he is self-admittedly low on international experience in his new weight division.
"If I had got exposure after the nationals, I would have got some experience. I also missed Strandja Memorial because of a shoulder problem and after that, unfortunately, a couple of scheduled tours were cancelled but I' am confident and I want to return with a gold."