Finding solace in Spanish-style 'biryani', Ashish Kumar set to return following quarantine in Spain

The Tokyo-bound boxer contracted with Covid-19 on the eve of the Boxam International final in March

By Samrat Chakraborty

It was a grim situation for Tokyo-bound boxer Ashish Kumar as he contracted Covid-19 in Spain, on the eve of the Boxam International final in Castellon in March.

As difficult as it was for the 26-year-old to maintain his fitness ahead of the Tokyo 2020, he started craving for a taste of home. That is when the cook came to his rescue.

“I was allowed to step outside, but not too far away from my room after a certain period. I was running, back and forth. I was also doing shadow boxing and some weight training in my room. That has certainly kept me fresh. I could not watch TV as all the channels were in Spanish,” Ashish Kumar told the New Indian Express.

India’s Ashish Kumar played his natural game and sealed a spot on the Olympics squad

"At the start, I was managing with the meals that they were serving me. But over a certain period, I was craving for Indian food. I told the cook out here the same. And they made me Spanish-style biryani,” he added.

After enduring the testing quarantine period in Spain, the Himachal Pradesh boxer is set to return home after recovering from the dreaded virus. The middleweight (75 kg) boxer was given a green signal to return home on Friday.

He, however, is thankful to the national boxing federation and the apex body in Spain for their support during this tough time.

“I have had good support from everyone, my family, the BFI, the Spain boxing federation and the local (Spain) authorities. I got all the attention so the whole quarantine process became much easier. Initially, I had mild fever and body pain. My family was naturally worried then," he said.

With the Tokyo Olympics around the corner, Ashish admitted that it will take sometime for him to return to full fitness, as it will be a fresh start for him again.

“These setbacks are part of the journey. I’m not letting small matters affect my boxing. I’m highly motivated as there’s enough time to head back and prepare for upcoming competitions,” Ashish said.

The boxer had booked his berth for Tokyo 2020, fulfilling his late father's dream, through the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers.