Small-town trio powers Indian boxing to new highs
After decades of spilling blood, sweat and tears with little recognition, it took three men from a small town in Haryana to change the face of Indian boxing in a watershed year.india Updated: Dec 23, 2008 12:28 IST
After decades of spilling blood, sweat and tears with little or no recognition, it took three men from a small town in Haryana to change the face of Indian boxing in a watershed year, the most exhilarating moment of which will without doubt be the country getting its maiden Olympic medal in the sport.
Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar, a trio from what is now called the cradle of boxing in the country, Haryana, combined to pack an unexpectedly powerful punch all through the year to do what the Dingko Singhs and Mohd Ali Qamars could not put Indian boxing firmly on the world map.
Of the record five boxers who qualified for Beijing Olympics, Vijender went on to make history winning a bronze medal, first for the country.
Though Akhil and Jitender couldn't finish on the podium, ending up as quarter-finalists in Beijing, they somewhat made up for the heart-break with bronze medals at the year-ending World Cup in Moscow.
Apart from the trio, which has undoubtedly become the face of Indian boxing, MC Mary Kom returned from a two-year sabbatical to become women's world champion for an unprecedented fourth time, prompting the sport's world governing body to call her 'Magnificent Mary'.
The mother of two from Manipur relied on just four months of training and sheer determination to stamp her authority yet again in the increasingly competitive women's World Championship even though India failed to retain the overall title against a record 41 teams competing this year.