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Vijender Singh on Dingko Singh`s demise: He was my first boxing hero

Vijender Singh, 35, became a path-breaker when he won India’s first Olympic medal in boxing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But had it not been for another path-breaker—Dingko Singh—he might not have gone on to achieve such unprecedented success.

Dingko, 42, who lost his battle with liver cancer at his home in Imphal on Thursday, was Vijender’s first hero in the sport. In fact, Dingko’s gold medal-winning feat [54 kg category] at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games—a first in 16 years—is referred to as the first wave that led to Indian boxing’s tsunami of international medals thereafter. 

Vijender Singh

“I was just 13 or 14 then and remember very clearly watching Dingko’s final bout on TV in my village in Kaluwas [Haryana]. There were not many channels then and we had a small black and white TV. I had to go up on the terrace and adjust the dish antenna to get the DD Metro channel to watch the fight. It took a lot of effort to get the channel but that gold medal made it all worth it,” Vijender, an Asian Games gold medallist and former World Championship medallist told mid-day on Thursday. 

Brisk moves

“I think it was an Uzbek boxer in that Bantamweight final [Uzbekistan’s Timur Tulyakov]. Dingko was pure aggression. He was not a very tall guy [five feet, four inches] but his punches were powerful. It was not all power though from Dingko. He had great technique too and his movements across the ring were very brisk,” added Vijender, who boasts of an impressive 12-1 win-loss record in professional boxing.

Inspirational person

The fight left a lasting impression on the teenaged Vijender. “I was just learning the ropes of boxing back then and was inspired by this win. I remember even going back to training and trying to ape a few of Dingko’s movements. He was my first hero in boxing. He ensured Indian boxers dared to dream big. Not just me, Dingko inspired an entire generation of Indian boxers. I was shocked to hear of his passing this morning. I’m told he was ill since 2017, so he fought hard here too,” Vijender signed off. 

Also Read: Former India boxer Dingko Singh passes away at 42 after prolonged illness

Tweet talk

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore @Ra_THORe: 
Shocked & saddened to learn of boxing legend Sh N Dingko Singh ji’s untimely demise. A Padma awardee, he was one of India’s finest boxers. His passing is an irreparable loss to India’s sporting community. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.

Jwala Gutta @Guttajwala:
Gone too soon #DingkoSingh. My condolences to the family. REST IN PEACE. 

Rani Rampal @imranirampal:
Sad to hear that #DingkoSingh ji is not with us. May his soul rest in peace and I pray to god that his family stay strong in these tough times.

Kiren Rijiju @KirenRijiju:   
I’m deeply saddened by the demise of Shri Dingko Singh. One of the finest boxers India has ever produced, Dinko’s gold medal at 1998 Bangkok Asian Games sparked the Boxing chain reaction in India. I extend my sincere condolences to the bereaved family. RIP Dinko.


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