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Balbir goes down meekly

other Updated: Jul 15, 2010 00:12 IST
Shalabh Manocha

Inconsistency has been Balbir Singh’s bane, and it came back to haunt him on Wednesday. Balbir raised hopes of winning the gold when he out punched Asian champion M. Suranjoy Singh in the pre-quarters, but, quite surprisingly, went down meekly to Sanjay Singh (RSPB) in the quarterfinals of the 57th Senior Men’s National Boxing Championship.

Balbir entered the ring high on confidence, but didn’t look as effective as he was against Suranjoy the other day. His punches were off target, and his opponent got his name first on the score sheet. The Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) boxer failed to get his touch back even in the second round, and Sanjay opened up the lead with another point.

As the clock ticked away in the final round, Balbir lost his cool and threw some punches below the belt. Sanjay, a two-time junior national champion, did not panic and gathered five more points to win 7-1.

“I was not at all nervous as I had beaten him before in the Railways trial,” said Sanjay when asked if he was nervous facing the boxer who had beaten Suranjoy Singh. Balbir, on the other hand, was quite disappointed with his showing. “I wanted to carry on the good work, but couldn’t. Maybe I lost my composure in the last round,” he said.

Another bout that caught spectators’ attention was the lightweight category contest between Diwakar (RSPB) and Deepak (J&K). Considered one of the best boxers in his category, Diwakar opened up a cut on Deepak’s left eye and the referee had to stop the contest in favour of the former.

Indian boxing could have easily lost Diwakar if the boxer had not shown doggedness to overcome chronic illness. “In 2005 I was diagnosed with Hepatitis B. I could not practice for long. In 2007, I was laid low by typhoid and had to miss the world championship trails and the qualifiers for the Bejing Olympics,” he said. However, he made a strong comeback with a bronze medal in a tournament in China in April 2009.

But the worst was yet to come for him as his father expired in November last year and he decided to quit the sport. “I had decided to quit the sport but Akhil Kumar encouraged me to come back,” he said.

Results: Light Fly: Vipin Kumar (UP) bt Sanjay Kolte (SSCB) 3-2, Amandeeep Singh (RSPB) bt Devendro (MAN) 4-0; Bantam Weight: Chote Lal (SSCB) bt Kulwinder Singh (PUN) 6-0, Kuldeep (HAR) bt Man Bahadur (PUN) 8-3; Light Weight: Vikas Malik (IBF-A) bt Mahesh Singh (UP) 0-8, Vikas (HAR) bt Amit Kumar 5-0.