Boxing Is Becoming India’s Top Olympic Sport

Gradually but surely, boxing is becoming India’s top Olympic sport. The big breakthrough happened at the Guangzhou Asian Games. With India stuck with just one gold medal—won by the much-ballyhooed shooting squad—to show at the end of the first week of competition, the national ritual of celebrating failure was about to start. CWG 2010, murmurs arose, had been a false dawn. It was under conditions of such morbid gloom that India’s boxers sprang to glory. They stunned everyone, winning seven medals, including two golds and three silvers, their best ever Asiad performance, catapulting India to sixth spot on the overall medals chart.

Past Achievers In Boxing

Barring a few accomplishments here and there, Indian boxers have not been able to put up a consistent performance at the international stage. This has resulted in decreasing popularity of boxing in India. Even though Cuban coaches have been roped in to spruce up their skills and physical fitness, Indian boxers have falter against quality opposition. However, there has been the odd bright spot in midst of the gloom.

Dingko Singh, Hawa Singh and Mohd Ali Qamar are among the outstanding boxers India has ever produced. All the three have excelled in the sports and have brought laurels to the country. Hawa Singh dominated the national championships, by winning title for eleven years on a row, from 1961-1972. Dingko Singh shot into fame at a very early age, when he won the sub-junior national boxing title in 1989, when he was eleven years old. He made the country proud by winning a gold medal at the Bangkok Asian Games in 1998.

Qamar created history in Indian boxing, by becoming the first Indian boxer to win a Commonwealth gold medal at the Manchester Games. While Dingko Singh’s Asian Games gold medal reminded one of the heroics of the legendary Indian boxer Hawa Singh, Ali Qamar’s triumph has inspired the youngsters to don the boxing gloves for the country.

Hawa Singh

He was an Indian boxer belonging to the Heavyweight category, and was very famous for dominating the Asian Boxing scene in his category for over a decade during his peek performance.


Dingko Singh

Ngangim Dingko Singh, usually known as Dingko Singh is an Indian Boxer, and considered to be one of the most outstanding boxers the nation has ever produced. He is well known for having grabbed a Gold Medal in the boxing event at the Bangkok Asian Games 1998.


Md. Ali Qamar

Mohammed Ali Qamar is an Indian Boxer hailing from Kolkata, and is famous for being the first Indian Boxer ever to have won a Gold Medal in the Boxing event of the Commonwealth Games.


What the Present Looks Like

India is a perpetual underachiever in the Olympics. Despite 1.2 billion inhabitants, the emerging economic power’s medal haul has been derisory: a total of 20 since it first participated in the modern Games in 1900. It won a gold, a silver and a bronze in 2008, and a single silver in 2004. China, its regional rival, with a population that is only slightly larger, won 51 golds four years ago.

The reasons, experts say, are manifold: a limited culture of sport beyond cricket and hockey, corruption that wastes even limited funds from the government, little commercial sponsorship, poor facilities, at least a third of the population malnourished and few effective coaches.

Boxing is the exception. Indian boxers have won dozens of medals in international competitions in recent years. A team of seven men and one woman are going to London, including Vijender Singh, who won a bronze in Beijing. “This time I am aiming for the gold,” Singh said. “At Beijing, India won three medals. This time, hopefully, we will win more. There’s so much support for us in London. It’s almost like mini-India.”

India’s boxing revolution would be well and truly underway.


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