His competitive boxing career was brought to an abrupt end by injuries but former Asian champion M Suranjoy Singh refuses to give up on the sport he still madly loves and has taken over as chief coach of Indian Navy, amid speculation that he is also being considered for a coaching role with the senior men’s team.
Suranjoy is in Guwahati to attend the National Men’s Championships to scout for talent for Indian Navy after the team endured a poor run at the inter-institutional championships.
“I am here to look for talent for Indian navy as chief coach. Navy had finished fourth in the Services Sports Control Board’s inter-institutional tournament. I have to ensure that the level improves in the next one year. My immediate aim is to make Navy the best in SSCB,” Suranjoy told PTI.
Asked about the possible move to senior men’s team camp as is the buzz, Suranjoy said, “I might join the national camp after April-May but if you ask me, I am more keen on training the sub-juniors. Grooming boys from the very start is more satisfying, it’s easier to mould them and improve their shortcomings.”
The diminutive Manipuri was nicknamed ‘Chhota Tyson’ in his heydays when he won eight back-to-back international gold medals, an astonishing run that ended with the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold.
In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Suranjoy was among the greatest Indian boxers never to have competed in the Olympics.
“My knees just fell apart, I could not run. Till date, I feel like competing whenever I am near a ring, my age is not even a factor. But then what do I do? My knees don’t hold up. I got offers to compete in the professional circuit recently but had to turn them down due to this. I still love boxing, I try as well but then god had other plans,” said the 31-year-old, who had to quit the sport at a mere 28 years of age.
However, not the one to give up, Suranjoy completed a coaching diploma course in NIS, Patiala last year and has since taken over as chief coach of Indian Navy, his long-time employers.
“If I look back at my career, I can only say that I got what I worked hard for. I don’t have complaints. Yes, I could not go to Olympics but I should have been smart in my training after I got injured, I did not push myself hard enough after that. So in a way, I got what I deserved,” he spoke candidly.
“But now I am enjoying coaching too. There are things that I see and understand differently from an active player. Some mistakes that I made, I try to ensure that the boys who train with me, don’t repeat those,” he said.
On what he thought of the current crop representing India internationally, Suranjoy lauded Vikas Krishnan’s technique and the discipline and flair of Shiva Thapa and L Devendro Singh.
“The current crop is pretty good, they just need to keep reinventing themselves. They should never get complacent, that’s what will help them improve,” he said.