Monday, September 21, 2015

‘There is not much joy in fighting under AIBA flag’

One thing that comes out from a confabulation with India’s top middleweight boxer Vikas Krishan Yadav is that he likes to call spade a spade. The 23-year-old pugilist is hardly showing any glint of happiness despite being the only Indian to win a silver medal in the recent Asian Boxing Championship in Bangkok. And his reasons are crystal clear. “There is not much joy in winning a medal when you see the AIBA flag go up during the medal presentation ceremony of any international event. Winning a medal for the country and seeing the Indian flag go up gives you much more joy and then to see the AIBA flag go up,” he says in a freewheeling chat.

The Bhiwani lad, who also got married early and has two sons, agrees it was his below par performance that plotted his downfall in the middleweight final against Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev in the recent Asian Boxing Championship – a bout he lost 0-2. “Bektemir is a tough opponent no doubt but then I was not at my best in the final bout. I was overconfident and that led to my downfall. I can surely beat him the next time I face him, just that I have to be at my best,” he says matter-of-factly.

Given the current scenario of a headless federation coupled with administrative turmoil, Vikas has no doubts that the number of boxers for the 2016 Rio Olympics will be lesser than the 2012 London Olympics. “Look at how many international competitions we played. Since the 2014 Asian Games we were starved of any international event for around eight-nine months until we played in a tourney in Doha and now this Asian Championships. Just two events in nearly a year is something not what we want. At the most, we can have four-five boxers for Rio Olympics. We desire more training-cum-competition sessions overseas, I’m having one in Kazakshtan but we need more,” he vents his frustration at the current state of affairs.

The talented youngster, who made all sit up and take notice of him when he won the gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games, says he will throw all his might in bagging an Olympic medal. “I will strain every nerve to win a gold medal for the country at the 2016 Rio Olympics. I hope the AIBA ban on the Indian federation is lifted in the next few months and we can see the national flag go up at Rio,” he asserts.

Clearly, India’s best Olympic medal hope after Vijender Singh turned pro, has indeed raised the bar for himself in pursuit of doing the nation proud.
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