Bhiwani produces four Olympic qualifiers

March 24th, 2008 - 9:01 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Bhiwani, a political nerve center in the northern state of Haryana, has now become the breeding ground for boxers as four of them have qualified for the Beijing Olympics. Vijender (75kg class), Dinesh Kumar (81 kg), Jitender Kumar (51kg) and Akhil Kumar (54kg) all honed their skills at the Bhiwani Boxing Club (referred as BBC by the local people), run by the Sports Authority of India.

Bhiwani’s boxing connection goes right back to 1966 when Hawa Singh was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award. After that interest in the sport was on the decline but then Asian Games heavyweight gold medallist Rajkumar Sangwan’s success spurred interest again in the sports.

And now with these four boxers representing India in the Olympics, their coach Jagdish Singh is confident that his wards will not return from the Games empty handed. This is not the first time that his boys are going to the Olympics, Jitender, Akhil and Vijender were there at the Athens Olympics four years ago.

“This time my boys are better equipped and I am confident that they will bag one or two medals. It has been a proud moment for us at the Bhiwani Boxing Club. We have been producing good boxers over the years and now the world will take note of us,” said the proud coach.

Asked which one of them has the best chance, Jagdish said: “As a coach of the four, I would say they all have a chance, but experience-wise Akhil has a better chance. At the international stage, Akhil has bagged lot of medals, including the Commonwealth Games gold medal.”

Jagdish also said that SAI should recognise his club as a Centre of Excellence. “We are getting lot of help from private organisations. Recently Mittal Trust has shown interest in us and we are in discussions with the Trust for sending our boys overseas for better training facilities.”

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