Proving sceptics wrong, boxer Vijender Singh punches his way into Olympics quarter-finals; now wants to bring home a gold medal
India has its medal hopes pinned on you. Now that you’re in the quarter-finals, how would you rate your chances of winning gold?
Main apne aap ko kaise rate karoon? (how do I rate myself?) But yes, this time I’m aiming for gold. I’ve worked really hard. The focus was on stamina, strength, endurance and speed training. My training includes a lot of running and weight-training, shadow-boxing and sparring. I hope I can better the bronze I won in Beijing.
What makes London Olympics 2012 different from the Beijing Olympics or the Commonwealth Games (CWG)?
This time, the expectations are higher from the Indian contingent. We’ve had a few disappointments, but then you have to remember that we’re up against the world’s best boxers. Every bout is different… The energy level, the atmosphere, everything varies. CWG was in Delhi, we were at home and the comfort level was high. But otherwise, every match is different.
Were you disappointed that you were not India’s flag-bearer?
I couldn’t be because I was busy with my weigh-in. But by being part of the Olympics, I’m getting an opportunity to represent my country. That’s what is important.
Reports claimed that after your marriage in May 2011, you lost focus.?
Marriage is a crucial part of your life and with a supportive partner like Archana, who understands how important boxing is to me, it only motivates me to do better.
Do you believe in luck?
Hard work is the only thing that works. If you work hard, even God is by your side.
Has your success made boxing popular with the masses? Any big plans after the Olympics, like opening an academy, doing a movie or a TV show, or getting into politics?
Eight boxers qualified for these Games — that is the largest boxing contingent ever from India. I hope my success has inspired boxers across the country to take the sport more seriously. I haven’t given much thought to anything besides my performance in London. The Olympics is my sole focus right now. Uske baad dekha jayega (we’ll see what happens after that).