Manoj Kumar is eyeing history. The 28-year-old, who clinched gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi in the welterweight (64kg) category, is aiming for an encore at the Glasgow CWG to become the only Indian boxer to win back-to-back medals when the event kicks off next month.
Manoj Kumar (left) and L Devendro Singh. Pic/Bipin Kokate
In the build-up to the Games, Manoj, currently ranked sixth in the world, has adopted out-of-the-box training methods apart from following his regular routine at the NIS Patiala camp. Running in the paddy field, reading about Chanakya and Napoleon are some of the things that are a part of Manoj's preparations.
Brother knows best
"Whenever I go home during breaks from the training camp, I run in the field where the water level is knee-high. My brother Rajesh knows where all I lack and the areas that need improvement. He constantly analyses my game and guides me accordingly.
"He feels I need to run in the field now because that will strengthened my leg muscles. I follow whatever he says religiously. Boxers generally don't think too much other than fighting their bouts," Manoj told mid-day yesterday during an interaction facilitated by Olympic Gold Quest, who support India's medal contenders.
Sparing no effort
Manoj has also mounted a boxing bag in his room. "My brother tells me there is no timing or limit for hard work. At nights when I am awake and if I have energy left, I practice. I like to be totally involved with my game," said Manoj, who lost in pre-quarters at the 2012 London Olympics.
He then got philosophical: "If you work sincerely then success will come to you."
L Devendro Singh, known as Indian boxing's pint-sized dynamite, is excited about fighting under new rules where there will be no headgear for amateur boxers.
"I like boxing without a headgear. It makes it more exciting and challenging. I can be at my aggressive best. Otherwise what happens is a tall boxer keeps moving away in the ring after a few punches initially.
Now, with new scoring rules as well (10-point scoring system), he will be forced to fight. It is also good for spectators as well," said Devendro, who is also supported by the Olympic Gold Quest. Devendro is keen to work on his defence techniques and coordination.
"I am working on my defence. Generally, I don't do well after counter-attacking. I want to also improve my coordination of legs. These are some finer things that I am working on," said the boxer, who hails from Imphal.