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Home > India > Sports > Olympics 2008 > Report

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Vijender might pack a heavier punch at London, literally!


August 26, 2008 18:09 IST

India's first ever Olympic medallist in boxing, Vijender [Images] Singh's punch might just get heavier with the Beijing [Images] bronze winner saying that he is game for going a division up for London [Images] 2012.

Vijender currently competes in the middle weight category (75kg) and he says he might go up to the light heavy weight division (81kg) as he grows physically.

"There is every possibility of me going a division up for London Olympics [Images] in 2012 and I will take a call on this matter in the next few months.

"I am only 22 and I will grow which means increased weight and a change in my division which is quite okay for me," Vijender told PTI on Tuesday after returning to a rousing reception in the capital.

But a return to the boxing ring is still a few days away and Vijender says he is looking forward to take a break after a strenuous one year of training.

"I think the entire team that went to Beijing needs a break to rejuvenate. As much as we enjoyed the grind and the results thereafter, there is a need to get ourselves refocused for maintaining the momentum that has been built by our performance in Beijing," he said.

"The reception has been overwhelming but we have not been able to catch up on sleep amid all this," he quipped.

The strapping six-footer had a bumpy road to Beijing as he had failed to make the cut for Olympics in the first two qualifiers.

Vijender, however, bounced back to qualify in style with a gold medal at the final Asian qualifiers in Kazakhstan.

"I was beginning to lose self-belief after those two qualifiers. I prayed to god, kept asking myself why was it happening?

"Those few months were the toughest of my life as I did not know what had hit me. But my coaches and friends stood by me and supported me, instilled confidence in me and here I am, back with a medal."

"I guess that is life and you have to take everything in your stride. That is what I learnt from my experience of the past one year," said the reigning national champion.

Vijender hoped that the euphoria of his medal and Akhil Kumar [Images] and Jitender Kumar's quarterfinal appearance at Beijing would translate into boxing becoming as big a hit as cricket in India.

"I hope that this euphoria does not die down. People take to boxing as they do to cricket and we bring more medals next time."

With his looks inviting as much attention as his exploits inside the ring, Vijender said he is enjoying his moment of recognition.

"I know there is lot of talk about my looks and I take everything as a complement. Blessings of the almighty," he said.

But Vijender dismisses talk of an immediate career in Bollywood.

"Bollywood is out of question right now. I am a boxer and would remain so no matter what is being said about me. Modelling is something that I can handle easily with my boxing career but that's about it," he said.

Life has changed for good for Vijender, who has been showered with rewards to the tune of more than a crore for his medal.

And with several corporate companies also lining up to sign him for endorsements, Vijender says he is finally feeling financially secure after going through a tough phase during which he was without a sponsor.

"It feels nice, some good companies have approached me for endorsements and it would be a good experience," he said. 

The 22-year-old boxer blushed at the mention of bollywood star Bipasha Basu [Images], whom he admires but felt too much was made out of his comments about the Bengali beauty being his favourite.

"Frankly, I was taken aback when all of a sudden people came up to me asking about Bipasha Basu. Yes, she is one of my favourites but too much was made out of the whole thing after I was assured of a medal.

"It would be nice if I get to meet her but I am tired of answering questions about her now," he added.


  • Complete coverage: Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
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