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Vijender Singh confident of bettering Beijing bronze in London

In the case of India’s poster boy of boxing Beijing Olympics bronze medalist Vijender Singh, there’s a fourth element to the famous joke that a relationship comprises of three rings —engagement ring, wedding ring and suffer-ring. “Boxing ring,” he says with a laugh. 

Despite having tied the knot in May last year to Delhi-based software engineer Archana Singh, the 2010 Asian Games gold-winning Middleweight fighter continues to live the life of a bachelor as he trains along with the seven-member Indian boxing contingent at the National Institute of Sport in Patiala for next month’s London Olympics. Vijender is not complaining though and is instead relishing the responsibility of living up to the dreams of a billion-plus Indians, who expect him to win every time he steps into the ring.


Boxer Vijender Singh looks at the bronze medal he won at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Pic/AFP

The star pugilist spoke to MiD DAY yesterday moments after completing yet another seven-hour training regime. Despite the grueling daily routine though, he sounded as fresh as he’d be while stepping into the ring for Round One of a competitive fight. Excerpts:

On the pressure of having to better his 2008 Beijing bronze at London 2012…
It’s obvious for people to have expectations from you after you have proved your potential internationally, so I have no problem with that at all. After all, my Beijing performance has given me everything — name, fame, etc. Personally, I want to better my Beijing show too. Like every Olympian, I’m aiming for gold.

On his training schedule…
The concentration is mainly on endurance training, for which we do distance running (across 8 to 10 kms) besides weight training and shadow boxing. I train for around six to seven hours a day. But it’s fun as we have a good group of guys.

On missing out on family life…
My marriage is relatively new but I can’t afford to even think about my wife right now. It’s the Olympics and only the Olympics that’s on my mind. I was a bachelor during the Beijing Games and, given the way I’ve been training and competing away from my family all these months, it won’t be wrong to say that I’m still a bachelor. From ‘wedding ring’ the word wedding is out and the only ring left is… boxing ring!

On the Indian boxing contingent…
There are some good young fighters in our seven-member Indian boxing contingent for the Olympics. Shiva Thapa (56Kg) in particular is just 18 and has a long way to go on the international stage. Then we have Sumit Sangwan (81Kg) and L Devendro Singh who are just 19. Twenty-year-old Vikas Krishan (69Kg) is another promising fighter. I can’t predict the number of medals but I believe this contingent is more than capable of winning a few.

On the added responsibility of having to mentor these youngsters…
Thankfully, all these boys are very hardworking and always willing to learn. Also, they have good heads on their shoulders and that’s the reason I keep saying that they have a long way to go. I enjoy being around them.

On his schedule for the run-up to the Games…
We will be travelling to Ireland next week (June 15) for a 15-day training session that will be followed by a brief competition. This will be our final fling before the Games, so I’m looking for a good outing here. I’m fully prepared and confident of doing well for India in London… the rest, as they say, is in God’s hands!  

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