Buffeted by injuries, `Best Boxer` now wants to shine as coach

Kolkata: After his dream to represent
Olympics shattered because of a spate of injuries and
illnesses, the `Best Boxer` of the Manchester Commonwealth
Games 2002, Som Bahadur Pun, now wants to make a mark as a

Having spent years in wilderness after failing to make a
comeback, Pun finally gave up his boxing gloves in 2008 after
the World Military Boxing Championship in Azerbaijan.

All hell broke loose for him when he was diagnosed with a
neurological disorder that meant he had to quit the boxing
ring at a time when the sport registered a stupendous
popularity following Vijender Singh`s Olympic success.

"The disease demanded regular treatment and it was not
possible for me to make a comeback again. My world came to an
end. It happened at a time when boxing as a sport started to
rise. I`m really unfortunate," the 2002 silver medalist told
reporters in a choked voice.

"I could have peaked after Commonwealth Games, but I had
tuberculosis in 2004 and it was very difficult to stage a
fightback again. Still I made it to the Commonwealth Games in
Melbourne in 2006, but I had jaundice in 2008 that made me
very weak," said the Services boxer, adding that in between he
was also diagnosed with the neurological disorder.

However, the idea of coaching came to his mind after he
was offered an assignment with the senior team of Arunachal
Pradesh in the National championship in Delhi this year.

"It`s a new thing and has its own challenges. I`m loving
it. I plan to do a certified course from NIS next year
to become a qualified coach," Pun, who is here in the city as
Tripura coach in the sub-junior national, said.

Pun has already gained some success as a coach when under
his tutelage Arunachal Pradesh boxers claimed two bronze
medals at senior nationals in Delhi this year.

The 29-year-old said that boxing in India has improved
vastly and the boxers should earn at least three to four
medals in London Olympics 2012.

"After the achievement in Olympics, boxers suddenly
grabbed the limelight. The scenario improved with sponsors
coming in. We struggled during our time. There would not be
any sponsor, less exposure trips, so we really had to work

"I don`t want to name anybody but we have many promising
boxers in the country. They are confident and I`m sure they
should get about three to four Olympic medals after two
years," Pun said.