Boxers say they got all help and facilities

August 26th, 2008 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) India’s first-ever individual boxing medallist Vijender Singh made it clear that he and his teammates got all facilities from both the government agencies as well as the boxing federation in the run-up to the Beijing Games. It was a day of felicitation for the Olympic heroes as wrestler Sushil Kumar and the boxers called on President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Sports Minister M.S. Gill Tuesday.

“If we did not have the facilities how could we have done so well and won a medal,” said the bronze medal winner at a felicitation function raised by the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) president Abhay Chautala for the Olympic boxing team here.

Even as he praised the role of the media in promoting boxing, Vijender wondered where from the stories of boxers being on their own emanated as neither he nor his teammates had ever complained about the lack of help or facilities. If the sport continued to get the kind of exposure in the media, the boxers will come up with more medals from the 2012 London Olympics.

Chief coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu chipped in to say that SAI in Patiala as well as in Delhi gave the boxers immense support and they had no cause for any complaint.

On a personal note, Chautala said if there were any shortcoming on the part of the IABF it would try to address them.

Chautala also lauded Sandhu’s commitment to Indian boxing, saying he had come out of retirement to take care of the Olympics team.

Chautala, however, refused to spell out the federation’s plans to promote the sport, saying that he would do so during the national championships at Bhatinda, starting September 5, and quipped: “First let me get elected as president again.”

Praising Vijender for winning the bronze, Chautala said Akhil and Jitender, too, would have won a medal each if only they had been fully fit.

“Akhil was down with a virus and had to be put on antibiotics to be fit for the quarter-final bout, while Jitender had ten stitches on his forehead before his bout. When he could beat World No. 3 and world champion in the previous two rounds, Akhil could have won against a lesser ranked boxer in the quarters,” said the IABF chief.

Chautala said it was creditable that three of the Indian boxers finished among the top eight boxers in the world at the Olympics and if their performance chart continued to go up, India would win a medal in every weight category at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Both Vijender and Akhil also praised the contribution of chief coaches Sandhu and Cuban B.I. Fernandez as well assistant coaches Jaidev Bisht and Raman. “Our caoches and sparring partners egged us on to do well in Beijing and they all deserve a big thanks from us.”

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