| Vijender Singh became the first boxer from India to win an Olympics medal when he won the bronze medal at Beijing Olympics in 2008. A top-ranked boxer in the middle-weight category, Vijender also won a bronze at the World Amateur Boxing Championships the very next year.
From an unknown village boy, Vijender has now become one of the top sporting icons of the country. Despite having attracted huge media and public attention, Vijender’s focus has not really shifted. His on-court performance has increased over the years. His qualification for London Games proves that the boxer is in good shape and can win us an Olympics medal this time too.
In a candid chat with Zeenews.com’s Biswajit Jha, Vijender Singh declares that he won’t settle for anything less than gold this time:
Here are the excerpts:
How are your preparations for the London Olympics?
I am happy with my preparations so far. We are having a very good time at NIS, Patiala under our Cuban coach and our national coaches. We are preparing really hard for the London Games.
What is your personal goal?
Like every Olympian, I want to win the gold medal. It’s a dream for everybody. I won bronze in Beijing, and I obviously want to better my performance in London.
What are the aspects you are working on?
We are in Patiala and are working on endurance training these days. Next, we will go for speed training.
Tell us something about your training schedule…
Since we are working on endurance training, we need to run a lot. We run around 10 kms a day. Apart from running, we do weight training and shadow boxing. Actually, I train around 6-7 hours a day.
Is there any planned tour before the Olympics?
We will go to Ireland for a training session for a couple of weeks. After that we have some competitions to take part in before the Games.
You went to Beijing without any pressure of expectation. But people are expecting a medal from you this time. Will this create mental pressure for you?
I know people expect me to win after I won that bronze at Beijing. But I don’t mind. I will try my best to make people happy this time too.
What’s your view on the seven-member Indian boxing contingent? How many medals can we expect in boxing?
All the seven boxers are equally good. Shiva Thapa, who is just 18, is an excellent boxer. He can win a medal. Apart from him, we have Vikas Krishan and Sumit Sangwan, anybody can win medal for us this time. I can’t predict the number, but I can assure you that this time we will win more than one medal.
After you won the bronze, Indian boxers are doing well, winning medals all over the world. Don’t you think that you have an added responsibility of mentoring them? What do you tell them?
Believe me… I don’t have to tell them many things. They are talented, hardworking and they know what they need to do to bring joy to the people of India. It’s a privilege to be around them and work with them.
First Published: Saturday, June 16, 2012, 14:07