Long before Vijender Singh won the 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze to become the poster-boy of Indian boxing, Akhil Kumar was boxing’s flag-bearer thanks to his Bantamweight gold in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
It’s no wonder then that Akhil is a bitter man today with the image of his ‘first love’ boxing having taken a beating as his one-time roommate and under-study Vijender is embroiled in a drug mess. “It’s not about Vijender… I’m sad that the sport of boxing has been shamed today. I’m currently recuperating from injury but I still do a lot of fitness training daily. However, I have not been able to train for the last four-five days after hearing this unfortunate news,” Akhil told MiD DAY yesterday from his room at the Haryana Police Academy in the Madhuban area of Karnal district, where he is currently appearing for his police exams (final term).
The 32-year-old Deputy Superintendent of Haryana Police was reacting to Vijender’s sparring partner Ram Singh’s recent confession to the Punjab Police that he and Vijender sometimes consumed heroin. The confession came two days after cops unearthed drugs worth Rs 130 crore at an NRI’s flat in Mohali with an SUV registered in Vijender’s wife’s name found nearby.
“I have not won an Olympic medal in boxing, but I have shed a lot of sweat and blood in the ring for my country and that’s why it hurts to see the name of Indian boxing being dragged into dirt. People are suddenly calling me up and asking ‘what’s this nonsense you boxers are up to? Now we know how you guys win all these medals’. I have nothing to say to them at the moment because that’s not the truth. Indian boxers have worked very hard to get where they are today and do not deserve this. I’d like to plead to everyone to let the police investigations progress and wait for the whole truth to come out. This is not about boxing, but a drug cartel that the Punjab Police have exposed,” explained Akhil, who coincidentally appeared for his Forensic Analysis exam yesterday, where he learnt about the application of science and technology in nailing dreaded criminals including drug cheats.
Truth will emerge
“This drug menace is huge not only in India but worldwide too. But there are a lot of methods to nail these cheats — CDR (call data records) analysis, finger-printing, narco-analysis, truth serum, etc to name a few.
I’m sure the police will thoroughly investigate this matter and its findings will reveal that drug abuse has nothing to do with boxing and that their association in this particular case is only a mere coincidence,” Akhil signed off.