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Vijender Singh calls doping ‘the biggest menace for Indian boxing’

Vijender Singh said that young boxers are doping to win junior level tournaments and that is a huge problem for Indian boxing.

other sports Updated: Dec 05, 2017 16:24 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Vijender Singh,Boxing,Indian boxing
Vijender Singh will defend his WBO Oriental & Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title against Ghana’s Ernest Amuzu in Jaipur on December 23.(AFP)

Beijing Olympic Games bronze-medalist-turned-pro Vijender Singh believes widespread doping at grassroots level is nipping India’s boxing talent in the bud.

“Since a large number of them are taking performance-enhancing drugs to win medals in low key competitions, it’s worrying factor. It will kill potential talent,” he told Hindustan Times.

Weightlifting and athletics are believed to be the major Olympic disciplines that are prone to doping in India. However, Vijender says boxing too has been infested with the problem. “I was shocked to witness players taking banned drugs in a state meet,” he said.

The Haryana boxer, who will defend his WBO Oriental & Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title against African champion Ernest Amuzu in Jaipur on December 23, feels doping will significantly dilute the pool of talent in the long run.

“I have my doubts if those taking short-cut will be able to give their best at global level in the future,” he added.

READ | Vijender Singh to defend boxing titles against African Champion Ernest Amuzu

Vjender feels he has a long professional career ahead of him. “I am healthy and it gives me an opportunity to train hard. Boxers like Larry Holmes and George Foreman have remarkable record beyond 40 and I also have plans to set a new benchmark for the next generation,” said the 32 year old. “Look at Mary Kom. A mother of three is still going strong in the ring.”

He has high hopes of women boxers though. India won five gold medals at the just-concluded youth women’s world championships at Guwahati. “Youngsters have given a good account of themselves and someone will definitely step into Mary Kom’s shoes in the future,” he said.

After Vijender’s podium finish at Beijing in 2008, Indian pugilists have failed to win any medal at the Olympics. He blamed it on the wrangling between the two factions wanting to run Indian boxing. “The Indian federation was de-recognised by the world governing body,” he said. “Things have settled now. There is one single national body. Hopefully, national team will be back on winning ways in coming days.”

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 19:11 IST