Vikas Krishan is very realistic

"I think we will return good results even though just three of us have qualified this time. All of us are among the top boxers in the world and should do well in the Olympics..." says Vikas Krishan.

Vikas Krishan hopes to win at least a bronze medal in Rio 2016.   -  M. MOORTHY

With a World championship bronze medal, two Asian Games medals, including a gold, and an Asian championship silver in his kitty, middleweight boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav has to be a strong medal contender in this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Vikas, also a former World Youth champion and a Youth Olympics medallist, has been impressive since his early days in boxing. He loves to play chess, is a meticulous planner and is known for his brain as well as brawn. He also stands out for his high level of confidence. Chasing his ambition of winning a medal in the Olympics, Vikas has been preparing for the Rio Games with earnestness.

Sportstar spoke to Vikas to know more about his journey to the Olympics.

Excerpts:

Question: How do you look back at the London Olympics? Have you moved on from your controversial exit four years ago? How different is it this time?

Answer: Four years back I boxed in welterweight, now I am in middleweight. My preparation is up to the mark and the next few weeks will decide how I am going to perform in Rio. I have forgotten what happened in the past (in London). My focus is on the future, the Olympics, and I am training as per the requirements.

The qualification process was not without its share of anxiety. How difficult was it since you tried two routes, both professional and amateur, to qualify for the Olympics?

I did not want to take any risk (as far as qualifying for the Olympics was concerned). In the second qualifying tournament, I lost to a local Chinese boy whom I had beaten twice in the past. The scoring there was not satisfying. But I was determined to qualify and win an Olympic medal this time. Last time I had missed out on it.

You sound very keen to win a medal in the Rio Games. How serious are you this time?

I train in the morning and evening and take rest in the day time. It is so tight that I don’t have time to speak to people. My complete concentration is on training, rest and diet. Currently my life is revolving around these three things. This will continue till the Olympics.

Recently you said that you will win a bronze medal whereas athletes aim for the biggest, the gold medal. Why have you set your eyes on a lesser medal?

Everybody says that he is aspiring to be an Olympic gold medallist, but it is not an easy thing to achieve. The way I had trained at that time and the way I assessed myself, I thought I was good enough to win a bronze medal. Till June 25, I was confident of beating 17 out of the 27 boxers in my weight (and win a bronze). Now the way I am training I think can do even better. Everything depends upon how I train and how much of confidence my training gives me. Depending on that I can say what I can achieve. It is easier said than done.

How is the absence of an Indian federation affecting the sport in the run-up to the Olympics?

Since the Indian federation was there eight boxers had qualified last time. This time the number is three. The federation’s support is very essential.

Are you working on any particular area of your game?

I am working on every aspect of my game — strength, fitness and boxing. As per my training schedule, I will do endurance before switching to speed training. The whole schedule has been drawn up by the well-known USA-based coach Willie Moses and I am training according to it.

You have won some big medals in the past, such as the World championship and Asian Games medals. They must be giving you a lot of confidence?

I have competed in many tournaments in these four years. I see other boxers grow and feel confident about my abilities. My performance and my weight have increased with my age. Everything is now focussed on the Olympics. I want to win something in Rio. The next few weeks are the most important period in my life and I want to give my best in this period.

Since professional boxers have been allowed to participate in the Olympics, do you feel it is going to pose hurdles for the amateurs?

I saw professional boxers in (the APB/WSB qualifying event) Venezuela. I did some sparring with them as I wanted to see how strong they were. I don’t think they are stronger than me.

How do you see Indian boxers performing in this Olympics?

I think we will return good results even though just three of us have qualified this time. All of us are among the top boxers in the world and should do well in the Olympics.