‘The ring fear is gone’

“I am confident of a much improved performance by our boxers in the coming international events. Surely, we are bound to be a big power in the next Olympics,” says Dingko Singh in this interview with V. V. Subrahmanyam.

Arjuna Award winner Dingko Singh, whose gold in the bantam weight category in the 1998 Asian Games is one of the best performances by an Indian boxer in the international arena, feels that the sport as a whole is more popular and respected across the country.

“I think this is the biggest positive in the wake of some impressive performances by the Indians in the international meets. And, a whole new dimension was give to boxing when Vijender Singh won that 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze,” says the 34-year-old boxer.

“Definitely, there is always scope for improvement. The big change I see in Indians is that they are not scared to take on the big names. The ring fear is gone, though there are some grey areas which need to be worked out,” explains Dingko Singh who caught the attention of all at the Hyderabad senior Nationals while he was urging his trainees to outbox the rivals.

“Definitely, the Federation and the Government are doing a fine job in promoting the sport. Yet, there is always scope for improvement. The success of a system lies in its ability to accept progressive ideas,” feels Dingko, whose career was cut short due to a right-hand injury in 1999.

“I am confident of a much improved performance by our boxers in the coming international events. Surely, we are bound to be a big power in the next Olympics. In Rio, I am sure we will win three to four medals,” says a confident Dingko. “I don’t think there are too many shortcomings in terms of technique amongst Indian boxers. They are good and all they need is exposure, proper corrective measures and the confidence. The most important aspect is how to peak yourself for a major event,” says the famous Manipuri boxer.

For someone who was widely perceived as a temperamental genius when young, a more mature and sober Dingko says that he is enjoying his life now. “There are no complaints. The only passion now is to produce champions. This is not impossible if you see how Mary Kom at the age of 35 and being a mother of two kids won an Olympic medal. These are the kinds of achievements I am looking for to give Indian boxing a new direction.”