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British pro star Amir Khan set to roll out academies in India


   New Delhi :  Mighty impressed with the “hardworking” Indian boxers, British professional star Amir Khan is all set to start a chain of academies in the country to harness the “abundant talent”, which according to him, is not getting the support it deserves.

Speaking to PTI in an interview, the 2004 Olympics silver-medallist and WBA and IBF light welterweight world champion could not stop raving about the country where he has set foot for the first time.

“I have always wanted to come to India because I have heard and read that it’s a beautiful place. I have a lot of Indian friends and I have been wanting to come here and experience everything. In fact, my family came to Delhi in 2010 for the Commonwealth Games, where my brother (Haroon) was competing and he got a bronze medal. They told me it’s a beautiful place and you have to visit,” the 28-year-old, whose roots are Pakistani, said.

The youngest British Olympic medallist, whose silver in Athens came when he was a mere 17, Khan is keen to start his academies first in Delhi and Mumbai before heading further inwards.

“The plan is basically to have academies around the world to be honest and India is one place where it can happen. We have been building a couple of them in Pakistan, UK, Doha, Sydney. Dubai is another destination and India is another place. Boxing is a sport which is growing quickly in India and with Vijender going professional, it is obviously going to become bigger. Definitely we want to promote boxing in such a country,” the boxer, who competes in welterweight now, said as he laid out his plans.

“As far as the facilities are concerned, we are going to start with one in Delhi and one in Mumbai. I think that’s where champions come from, champions come from grassroots. That’s exactly what I am doing in Pakistan, in fact I am building five in Pakistan. We have had good meetings with good people here,” he said.

“To start, it will be better to have academies in cities but slowly you have to go to the interiors.”

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