Well-known boxing coach Jagdish Singh recalled that when he predicted India would win a boxing medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics everyone in the Federation laughed at him.

But, Vijender Singh’s bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics saw global recognition to Indian boxing, said Jagdish Singh, one of the prominent boxing coaches at a clinic organised by Oro Sports Village and Red Corner Sports Promotions here on Monday.

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“Heading into the 2008 Olympics, I was more confident than ever before and had predicted more than one medal and that was reflected in the initial victories of Vijender and Akhil,” he recalled.

“When I predicted the medal, people in the Federation laughed at me which didn't go well with me and my trainees and we all had put in our blood and sweat to get India's first Olympic medal in boxing. I used to stay with the boxers all the time keeping a watch on their routines and mentally conditioning them,” Jagdish explained.

“We had to struggle a lot due to lack of facilities and SAI Bhiwani. Disappointed by that, we had borrowed money from friends and relatives to set up the Bhiwani Boxing Club with basic facilities to help boxers prepare for major tournaments,” he said.

“Once we got results, the federation and SAI supported us to upgrade the centre and win more laurels,” he added.

Vijender Singh along with Akhil Kumar, Vikas Krishan Yadav, Jitendra Kumar, Kavita Chahal and many others are some of the prominent boxers coached by Jagdish at the Bhiwani Boxing Club in Haryana besides five Arjuna Awardees and about 250 international medallists with his unconventional methods of coaching.

Jagdish Singh recalled how things changed after Hyderabad hosted the 2002 National Games and the Afro-Asian Games next year creating worldclass infrastructure and the way the performers were given incentives by the State and Central Governments.

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"Hyderabad has always produced very good boxers thanks to the coaches like Dennis Swami, Emani Chiranjeevi, K.R. Steven, Omkar Yadav. All of us from Haryana had to push the limits to keep up with the boxers coming from the south as they were more technically sound,” Jagdish said.

“Somehow some of the Haryanvi boxers managed to beat a couple of Andhra boxers through unconventional hard hitting and not giving opponents time to implement their plans,” Jagdish said.

“We had to push athletes to be very fit just to stand in the fight against the Hyderabadi boxers. Saad Farooq who used to train at the Nizam College had extraordinary footwork," he said.

" Omkar Yadav and I had worked a lot together. We met at the Junior national Camp in the early 2000's that was both of our first assignment with the national camp and we went to Frankfurt, Germany with the team from there,” Jagdish said.