This piece was published in Sportskeeda
Manipuri boxers always bring some ‘extra flair’ to the ring. Over the years, we have seen N Dingko Singh catapult Indian boxing into spotlight – we all remember how he stunned the then World No. 3 Wong Prages Sontaya in front of his home crowd in the semifinals en route to a gold medal finish at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games. Among the present crop of boxers, Laishram Devendro Singh rewinds memories of how Dingko used to box in his heydays.
Devendro with his ‘open guard style’ has attained huge popularity in Indian boxing circles with a surprise quarterfinal appearance at the 2012 London Olympics. There was one Suranjoy Singh, who is probably not remembered much like Dingko and Devendro, but that should not be a reason for us to discount his boxing prowess. Suranjoy was another boxing talent from Manipur, who battled a slew of injuries over a length period of time and missed the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Suranjoy ended India’s 15-year gold drought in 2009
At the 2009 Asian Boxing Championship in Zhuhai, China, Suranjoy won the European Grand Prix gold in Czech Republic in May 2009 and soon followed it up with a big performance in June 2009 – ending India’s 15-year gold drought claiming the top spot in the 51-kg category (Rajkumar Sangwan was the last boxer to win a gold in the Asian Boxing Championship when he cornered glory in the superheavyweight category in the 1994 edition).
He won the AIBA's President's Cup gold in December 2009, as well bagging gold medals in the A.K. Mishra Memorial International tournament and Commonwealth Boxing Championships and capped off a stellar run with a gold medal finish at the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games. In the same year, he won a bronze at the 2010 Asian Games in China.
Suranjoy joins Dingko SinghThe above achievements are enough indication that Suranjoy has done a lot for Indian boxing, but injuries derailed his career which meant 2013 was his last year as an amateur boxer. Fast realizing that the spate of injuries are not allowing him to prosper as a boxer, he choose to shun competitive boxing and zeroed in on a coaching as a career option. He is now pursuing a diploma in boxing coaching at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala.
Suranjoy, who is employed with Indian Navy in Mumbai, will join Dingko Singh in the coaching seat. Dingko is also employed with Indian Navy, now coaches youngsters at the SAI Imphal centre and is also a member of the national boxing selection committee headed by Gopal Devang, a former stalwart, who won two medals at Asiads.
So many boxers have decided to bid adieu to amateur boxing because of career-threatening injuries and Suranjoy is just one among many. One hopes Indian boxing can make full use of Suranjoy – the coach, once he wraps up his NIS coaching diploma and gets into the thick of action from the sidelines.