The nightmare is finally over and I am back to a normal life,said a relieved Vijender Singh as he broke his silence on the sensational drug scandal that severely hurt his reputation,insisting that more than a crisis,it was a learning experience that left him stronger and wiser.
Speaking to PTI in an interview,his first after the scandal broke out more than two months back,the Olympic bronze-medallist opened up about what he went through before being given an all-clean certificate by the National Anti-Doping Agency.
The nightmare is over and I have started training and looking forward to the World Championships in October, said the 27-year-old middleweight boxer,the first Indian to become world number one in international rankings.
I am thankful to the Haryana government,the Sports Ministry,the Indian Olympic Association and the Indian Boxing Federation for standing by me. Now I am back to training in the camp and nothing can be better then this, he added.
It has been more than two months since Vijender found himself in quandary when his name cropped up in a massive drug haul after Punjab police recovered heroin,worth around Rs 130 crore,from NRI Anoop Singh Kahlons house in Zirakpur.
The presence of a car used by Vijenders wife Archana near the house raised a media storm and on On April 1,Punjab Police said Vijender bought heroin for personal consumption on 12 different occasions from Kahlon.
Vijender denied any wrongdoing and underwent a NADA dope test which came out negative. The strapping six-footer from Haryana said there are lessons to be learnt even in the worst of crisis and he learnt his while dealing with the controversy.
I believe,whatever god does,he does it for the good. Even in this incident,god must have thought something good for me, he said,adding,I learnt a few things from the incident. I realised who are my true friends and who are the hangers on. I realised that difference because all my good friends formed a ring of support around me.
Another lesson is that I wont ever be as casually friendly with anyone as I used to be. I wont ever leave my car keys or my mobile phone with anybody. I have become wary of people, he said,adding,I was in Mumbai when the whole thing broke out. Suddenly I see my car being found somewhere,people taking my name and questions being asked about whether I was taking drugs. It was painful, he said.
Asked if,even for once,he felt his achievements were being completely forgotten while his integrity was questioned,Vijender chose to laugh it off. May be the TV channels love me a lot,thats why they kept showing me for so long. There is a price to pay if you are famous, he quipped.
He refused to call it the biggest crisis of his life. I dont think it was the biggest crisis… life is unpredictable… I am taking it positively. I havent lost faith in anything, he explained.
I always try to see the good in everything and that gives me strength. Even when I lost in the London Olympics quarterfinals,I said to myself dont lose heart,god has his own plans. You accept whatever challenge you face and become stronger, he said.
He has already missed a couple of exposure trips and wont be there for the Asian Championships next month after giving the national trials a miss. Vijender,if selected,will next be seen in action only at the October World Championships. Asked if he is intimidated by the scrutiny that he would invite due to the scandal,Vijender said,I have had detractors all my life.
Even at the peak of my performance,my abilities were questioned. I dont get affected. My job is to train hard and deliver results in tournaments and thats how it will always be for me because that is the best way to deal with criticism, he added.
My grandmother often told me log unhi ko badnaam karte hain jinka naam hota hai (people malign only those who have a name). My family and my wife Archana,whom I married just two years ago,stood by me like a rock during this crisis
Vijender also thanked his fans,saying their adulation formed a crucial cog in his support system.
Its a closed chapter now. I just want to focus on everything that I do inside the ring.