Imagine facing half a battalion of enthusiastic journalists in a claustrophobic conference hall collectively jabbing the proverbial question at you — Do you feel the tremendous pressure of bringing back a gold medal? Light welterweight boxer Manoj Kumar slips past one such question, exploits the opening and delivers a counter punch; in reply he sings a Haryanvi song about a desi guy who brings back home a videshi mem.
Packing a punch: India’s London-bound Olympic boxers (L to R) Jai Bhagwan, Devendro Singh, Sumit Sangwan (back row), Mary Kom, Vijender Singh (back row), Shiva Thapa, Manoj Kumar and Vikas Krishan during a send-off ceremony in New Delhi yesterday. PIC/Rajeev Tyagi
The Indian boxing contingent are set to leave for London today morning to get acclimatised and train for the big event, starting July 27.
Yesterday during a send-off ceremony organised by the Indian Boxing Federation, London-bound boxers Manoj (64kg), Vijender Singh (75kg), L Devendro Singh (49kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and five-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) said they are in top form and ready for the big test in London.
“I have full confidence and shall do my best to get the gold (medal), the rest is up to your prayers and God’s grace,” said Mary Kom.
Burden off Viju’s back
While Vijender remains the centre of attention he is relieved that other senior boxers like Mary are sharing the burden, “I can’t tell you about strategies, once you are inside the ring it’s a slugfest,” replied Vijender to a question. “But yes, now that I have other members who are all in top form and potential medal contenders I can breath easy and focus on my game.”
Boxers rock too
Shiva, the youngest Indian pugilist to qualify for the London Olympics stressed on the need to give boxers and other sportspersons their due credit. “Cricket was the only happening thing but people appreciate our achievements in our home towns and slowly the nation is waking up. Now people know there are other stars apart from cricketers in this country.”