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After Astana, Dinesh eyes Olympic glory

other Updated: Mar 27, 2008 22:55 IST
Abhishek Hore
Abhishek Hore
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

BIG DREAMS are built on strong foundations. If the base is strong then realising a dream is not as difficult as it is perceived to be.

That's pretty much what pugilist Dinesh Kumar believed in before embarking on the trip to Astana, Kazakhstan, for the Asian Qualifier.

While it was a case of so near yet so far for many, for Dinesh it was a runaway victory till an Iranian halted his triumphal march in the final.

Earning a berth for the Beijing Olympics is a job half done and according to Dinesh, it will culminate if he wins a medal. "Winning a medal at the Olympics is what every athlete dreams of and so do I."

Sometimes the best things in life are achieved when one listens to his instinct and doesn't think much on how things will pan out. "I just trained hard and never thought of whether I will win or lose," a thoughtful Dinesh said.

Even though the Astana meet was the region's last qualifying event, the modest boxer from Bhiwani said he never allowed the thought to trouble him. "I would be lying if I say I was not thinking about qualification, but I was never under any kind of pressure. I had worked hard and knew with a little bit of luck I would make the cut," he said.

Unlike established names like Akhil Kumar and Vijender, Dinesh is yet to catch the eye, notwithstanding his gold medal feat at the South Asian Games in 2006. But the hard-earned ticket to Beijing is proof enough that his career graph is on the rise.

For Dinesh and the other boxers who qualified in Astana, Wednesday night at the Indira Gandhi International Airport was a rare moment that begged to be captured by a steady camera for posterity. The mad scramble, notwithstanding, Dinesh did not flinch for a moment during the boxers' brief stay at the arrival area. "It felt nice to see people showering praise on us and giving us a warm welcome," he said.

"Though, I have a senior national title to my name, and also a gold at the National Games in Guwahati last year, I would rate this as the best moment of my life till now."

A failure to make the grade at Bangkok, the event preceding the Astana meet, may have left Dinesh a little disappointed, but he bounced back in no time thanks to his long-time coach Jagdish Singh. "He has always been a big help. After I failed to qualify in Bangkok I was little low on confidence but my coach helped me overcome that," Dinesh said.

The morale is high and it gives Dinesh the thrust to aim for the ultimate prize. "God willing and with all the good wishes, I hope I will win a medal in Beijing," he exclaimed.