India superstar Vijender Singh is one massive name missing from the Indian contingent for the Rio Olympics. The pugilist from Bhiwani, who won the Bronze medal in boxing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, turned pro just last year.
Now, with less than a month to go for the Olympics 2016, the prospect of seeing the WBO Asia Pacific super middleweight champion of the world participate in the Rio games is all but over. Never say never, however, as we might have even have a remote hope of watching the 30-year-old participate in the Olympics 2020.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) voted in favour of pro boxers getting a chance to participate at the Olympics in June this year, but although at first Vijender seemed curious if he could fight in the quadrennial sporting event, his trainer Lee Beard categorically stated that participating in the Olympics will hamper his pro boxing plans.
Many thought that the convincing win against Kerry Hope to win the WBO title last Saturday in India would pave way for Vijender to make it to the Olympics, but unfortunately, the qualifiers for the pro boxers to participate in Rio 2016 was over by then.
Nevertheless, the star boxer has stated his full support to the three Indian boxers who qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016 -- Shiva Thapa (56 kg), Manoj Kumar (64 kg) and Vikas Krishan (75 kg).
I am hoping for a better performance [in boxing] than 2012. I am 100 percent sure, I think positive. In 2008 when we got a medal, nobody expected it from us. Umeed pe duniya kayam hai [hope remains the key to success]
- Vijender Singh to NDTV.
"The Olympic medal is definitely the No.1 achievement of my career," continued the famed pro boxer. "That Olympic medal made me Vijender Singh which is why people recognise me today.
"I still remember it was August 23, 2008. Our boxing coach GS Sandhu told us that another of our boxers Jitender Singh had lost. I then told him that I will do it. I don't know what happened in the ring just that at the end my name Vijender Singh from India was announced. My cellphone kept ringing after that," Vijender recalled.