Vijender backs Indian pugilists to do well at Games

Says Mark Kom, Panghal and Vikas can finish on the podium in the Tokyo Olympics

Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh thinks that India’s strong nine-member boxing squad is capable of winning medals in the upcoming Tokyo Games.

Vijender, the first Indian boxer to bag an Olympic medal, said the experienced hands – including six-time World champion Mary Kom (women’s 51kg), former Worlds bronze medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Worlds silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) – have a good chance.

“Mary Kom and Vikas have lots of experience. Amit is in good form. I think they will do better,” Vijender, who will be part of Sony Sports live studio show, Sports Extraaa, for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games from July 23, said during an online select media interaction on Tuesday.

On Amit, Vijender said, “He is world No. 1 and that brings a lot of benefits. His style is exciting. I am told he boxed well in Dubai (in the Asian championships).”

On another southpaw Vikas, Vijender said, “This is his third Olympics and I hope he makes it (to the podium).”

Vijender admired Mary, who landed a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics. “She is a strong woman. I pray she comes back with a medal. She is fighting after having three kids and we must learn a lot from her.”

Sharing experiences

Vijender expected Mary and Vikas to share their experience with others.

“Manish Kaushik (the Bhiwani boxer who qualified in 63kg) asked me about the Olympic Village. I shared my experience so that he would know how it would be over there. Olympians like Mary and Vikas should share their experience with others.”

Vijender, who won his Olympic medal in the middleweight division, had a word of advice for fellow middleweight pugilist Ashish Kumar.

“Stay away from social media and save your energy. When you go to the Olympic Village, you are treated like a king. Whatever you want to do in the Village, you can do there. Don’t waste your energy, just focus on why you are here and what you are doing.”

Vijender urged the countrymen to encourage all the nine boxers who can perform better after the disappointing show in the Rio Games.

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