But in his own admission, none was as painful as the “knock-out blow” dealt by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and with it to a host of talented boxers, including himself, in the form of IOA’s suspension yesterday.
“This has come as a huge shock to me… I have been hearing of some problems between the IOA and IOC but I never expected them (IOC) to take such a drastic step. This is disappointing news for India and Indian athletes, most of whom live and breath the Olympic dream every moment of their lives,” Vijender told MiD DAY yesterday. Vijender felt the suspension is a major blow to Indian boxers in particular. “There’s a lot of money in professional boxing.
Even a couple of fights abroad could land a good fighter some big bucks. But most of the Indian boxers, including myself, have refrained from taking to it till date for the sheer love of the national flag. We have stuck with amateur boxing as there is nothing bigger than the pride of representing one’s country. But this suspension will mean that not only have we wasted all those professional opportunities that came our way, but most importantly, we will never be able to fight for our country again. That’s a knock-out punch which no boxer in this world can withstand,” said the former World No 1 Middleweight fighter.
The Bhiwani lad however felt all’s not lost yet. “I’m sure something will be worked out. India has excelled in sport of late and the six medals in London are proof of this. We Indians bring a strong competitive passion to the ring and the world can’t do without us,” he signed off.