London: Vijender Singh defended the new-found aggression of the young Indian boxers, saying it just speaks of the confidence of the players, who do not get intimidated by the reputation of the rivals.
“No this is a sign of confidence,” Vijender shot back when asked if he thinks Indian boxers have started bragging too much.
“Earlier the aim of our senior boxers was to get selected for the Olympics. Now the young boxers want to win. The youngsters have virtually transformed this sport in India with their deeds.
“I remember that earlier senior players used to scare us by saying that our rival is a world champion or so and it is very difficult to beat him but that scenario has changed,” he said during an interaction at the Games Village.
The Haryana boxer said tennis ace Leander Paes and hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay were his inspiration during the start of his career.
“I was always fascinated by them, wanted to be well-known in my country like them and play in Olympics,” the boxer said.
“It has been a rollercoaster ride since I started boxing at the higher level. It is s dream journey, which is still continuing. Sometimes I do get haunted by few bad dreams but still it is enjoyable,” he said.
Recalling his earlier days, Vijender said, “Around 1999 or 2000 there used to be advertisements in papers and TV showing Paes endorsing sports shoes. The cost of that shoe, I still remember was Rs. 650, I wanted to be like him, I wanted to be brand ambassador of products but that was pure fantasy I some time use to laugh at myself for thinking like that, But God has been great. My fantasy has turn into reality.”
Going down the memory lane, Vijender said, “Hockey player Dhanraj Pillay was another big star those days. I used to read lot about him and slowly Paes and Pillay became my heroes, I wanted to travel abroad but not as tourist but like my heroes.”