Patiala, Aug.11 (ANI): The Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports in Patiala is known as the 'Mecca' of Indian sports. Today, it is abuzz with top-notch boxing players of the country practicing here for upcoming World Boxing Championship and the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The Indian pugilists are practicing here to ensure that they win medals at sports events in Milan (Italy) and in New Delhi.
India is to send a team of nine boxers for the world championship where over 700 boxers from 100 countries will vie for medals in their respective weight categories.
Among the boxers are Vijender Singh, who is in high spirits since winning a medal at the Beijing Olympics. He is practicing hard for World Boxing Championship to be held in Italy in September this year and is optimistic about bringing laurels to the country.
Singh hails from Haryana and is due to receive this year's prestigious Rajiv Khel Ratna Award, the highest award for excellence in sports in India.
"We are practicing hard for the World Boxing Championship. The event is considered to be the toughest of all competitions. India has never won any medal in the World Boxing Championship, but we are practicing hard to bring it this time as we did in the Olympics," said Vijender Kumar, Olympic Bronze medallist.
"I feel a team event is completely different from an individual sport. Cricket is a good team sport but other sports should be given equal status in the country.
It is good that for the first time three sportspersons in individual sports are going to be honoured. It sends a message that individual sports are being recognized in India and have a good future. Youngsters have started taking to individual sports rather going in for cricket. In individual sports, you can easily prove yourself and gain from it," Vijender added.
Besides Vijender Singh, other medal hopes are from Akhil and Jitendra, who won several hearts at the Beijing Olympics.
Akhil Kumar beat world champion Sergey Vodopyanov of Russia in the bantamweight pre-quarterfinals last August.
"People are noticing the growth in boxing because everybody wants a good career and they work very hard for it. People are realizing that boxing can give you name and fame like cricket. It causes pain but this pain has its own high. There is no such addiction like pain in this sport. It's the best," said Akhil Kumar.
The pugilists have been toiling hard for the last six months under the guidance of national coach G. S. Sandhu. Presently, 40 boxers are undergoing training.
Suranjoy Singh, who recently won a gold medal at the Asian Championship, is India's other bright hope.
"Recognition is there in the world today because it is the first time that four boxers have got world medals I think there is an overall improvement in the boys and they are taking a keen interest.
Everybody is working very hard, we don't have to push them to work," said Sandhu. By Sunil Sharma (ANI)