Jitender Kumar aiming for this year's World Cup

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{image-jitender kumar_14102008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Pune, Oct 14: Unperturbed by his Olympic heroics at Beijinng and huge expectations of millions, ace pugilist Jitender Kumar is aiming to take another historical leap at the World Cup which is slated to be held at Moscow in December this year, and also keeping a close eye on the young Indian boxers at the Commonwealth Youth Games here.

Jitender, who missed out on a medal at the Beijing Olympics when he lost the quarter final match three-time European champion Georgy Balakshin, said his spirited performance has made him more responsible and the World Cup and World boxing Championship early next year are the places where he now wants to show his mettle.

''Definitely, all this love from my countrymen has added responsibility on me and I assure that everything will get better from here on,'' Jitender told UNI in an interview here.

The 21-year-old Haryana lad was here at the Commonwealth Youth Games for the torch relay during the opening ceremony and was all praise for the facilities that the sportspersons have been provided.

He admitted that the splendid run of Indian boxers at the Olympics has created a wave in the country for the game and people are noticing and recognising the game in a country that is crazy for cricket.

''I know I could not win the medal at Beijing, but it was heartening to see what this game has become since we went for the Olympics.

''It is great to know that we could do something for the game and our country,'' he said.

The Indian is currently practising in Patiala for the upcoming challenge at the World CUp and keen to make it count this time. The World Championship, which will begin in January next year, is also in his mind and he said he would not settle for anything less than a top finish in both the events.

The Boxing World Cup used to be a team event similar to the Davis Cup in tennis in the first two editions (2005, 2006), but this year, the format has been changed and would see a competition between top ranked boxers in different weight categories.

The winning country will be the one who took more medals than any other one, without any group stages like before.

''I have been practising hard and going there with just one aim which is to win,'' he stated.

The Bhiwani based boxer added that he had never thought that the stardom would struck so early to him and said the kind of reception which has been going on ever since he returned from Beijing was never expected even after he along with his other Indian pugilists had finished their campaigns.

''Even when we had finished the Games, we did not expect that so much of love and affection would be given to us and this what has been motivating us to do even better in future.

''Our feet are definitely on ground and we know that it is because of our game that gave us this fame. Therfore, we know we have to play well so that we remain in the heart of millions of Indians,'' he conceded.

The ace pugilist, who has been recruited as the DSP in Haryana, was recently offered a job in Railways as well by none other than Railway Minister Lalu Prasad at a function.

The confusion, however, continues to mount over whom should he join and Jitender said he still hasn't made up his mind, but probably Haryana government will be his priority, if he has to take a final decision.

Jitender further added that he was pleased with what the Commonwealth Youth Games Organising Committee has done in a short span of time and has given top class facilities to the players, officials and spectators.

''When I went to Beijing this year, it was really fantastic and the facilities that were on offer were just perfect. But, the facilities here are also great and I personally never expected all this.

''I think this all because people now understand the importance of Olympic sports,'' he said with a smile.

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