‘While we told Dingko Singh about opponent’s style, he’d only tell us ‘Sahib, main karega”

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– By Gurbax Singh Sandhu

In the age of the outdated system of scoring, there have been not often any Indian boxers who would go for the kill proper from the primary spherical. Dingko Singh was one such boxer and his swift toes motion coupled with correct punches helped him beat any boxer on his day. When I first heard the information of Dingko’s loss of life, I used to be considering about how he had been dodging most cancers for the final 4 years and we had hoped that he’ll defeat this enemy combating, like all of the 5 rounds within the boxing when he performed.

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There are some boxers who stay cool regardless of being aggressive however Dingko was a boxer, who displayed each anger and aggression brazenly. Quite a lot of instances, I and overseas coach BI Fernandez needed to spend time with him making him convert the anger into the correct of aggression. I don’t know whether or not that anger got here attributable to being an orphan however no matter life threw at Dingko, he fought like a champion even in his final years.

When Dingko gained the very best boxer award within the Kings Cup in Thailand in 1997, we sat with him and labored on his left punches other than aiming for a left hook blended with a proper hook. And he would only tell us that ‘Sir, I will do that and I will beat him (The opponent)’. He displayed no concern in his eyes and the only time I noticed him devastated was when his identify was struck off by the IOA and Sports Ministry attributable to no matter causes a day forward of the Indian contingent’s departure for 1998 Asian Games.

The day earlier than departure when the choice to drop him was introduced, Dingko drank lots and it was shocking to listen to that since he was all the time a disciplined boxer. But rejection damage him to the extent that he headed in direction of the Railway tracks about one and half km from NIS, Patiala to aim suicide.

Some NIS officers and boxers noticed him. I had been visiting a Gurudwara close to Patiala to pay my obeisance previous to the crew’s departure as I all the time did. I told them to get Dingko in a room with two of my trainees. On my manner again, I talked with Mr Ashok Kumar Mattoo and told him that this boy has to go and he has the aggression and expertise to win the medal at Bangkok. We spent the entire evening with Dingko and the subsequent day, when he was included, it was an enormous reduction.

Dingko had been so indignant with life and the choice, that we as coaches fearful about him. When his identify was included after the officers intervened, maybe this made him decided to show a degree in Bangkok. We had studied the opponents and whereas we told Dingko about the opponent’s model, he would only tell us, ‘Sahib, main karega’. Perhaps that got here from his Army coaching or the times spent within the orphanage, which helped him discover ways to face the world.

When he knocked out the Uzbek boxer Timur Tulyakov within the fourth spherical within the last, I might see the enjoyment in his eyes. He would tackle me and Fernandez as Sahib and would scream, “Sahib, maine bola tha kar diya,” in damaged Hindi sentences he knew at the moment. Later that yr, he suffered a wrist damage. Even although he underwent an operation, it did hamper him somewhat. At the Sydney Olympics, he misplaced to eventual bronze medallist Serhiy Danylchenko and he had the caliber to win an Olympic medal.

READ | Ding’KO Singh: ‘The hottest blood ever’

Once he retired, he would play and later coach the Indian Navy crew and was primarily based on INS Hamla in Malad, Mumbai. We would usually meet him in the course of the nationals with the Services crew and he would make it a degree to tell his trainees about us. Whenever a boxer from Indian Navy got here within the nationwide camp, Dingko would ship his needs for us and it was heartening to see him work as a coach.

Lots of people time period Dingko as an aggressive particular person or as treating coaches rudely. But I consider {that a} Lion shouldn’t be meant to be in a cage. As coaches, we learnt handle Dingko. The only factor which irritated him was coaches telling him issues for hours and he would simply nod. But he additionally knew that we are considering for his good. He was one of many lions of Indian boxing and stays among the best bantamweight boxers the nation has seen.

Gurbax Singh Sandhu, a former Indian boxing chief coach for greater than 26 years since 1990, spoke to Nitin Sharma.

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