The last four months have seen Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh shifting base from NIS (National Institute of Sports),Patiala,to the SAI Centre,Sonepat. Vijender wanted to train away from the rest of the boxing contingent after his name had been dragged into a drugs controversy. The pugilist resumed training at Sonepat in May with special permission from the director general,SAI.
Now,with the Indian team trials to be held from August 16 to 18,at NIS,for the upcoming World Championships in Almaty,Kazakhstan,in October,the 27-year-old has re-joined the national camp at NIS from Monday and is raring to go for the trials.
“I spent a long time away from NIS,which has been my second home for the last 11-12 years,and it feels good to be back. We followed a training schedule with sparring coach Kuttappa and I was training with Dinesh Kumar and Jai Bhagwan at Sonepat. But with the trials coming closer,I thought it’s best to re-join NIS and I am thankful to SAI for all the support,” said Vijender.
It was a usual training day for the Olympics medallist. Vijender took part in an 8km jog and five rounds of punching in the training session. This was followed by three rounds of skipping and two rounds of shadow boxing. The Bhiwani boxer last attended the national camp in March and shifted to his old room at NIS with teammate Dinesh Sangwan,who has shifted to the 91kg category. Vijender is now aiming for a slot in the 81kg category,a decision which he says he will take after consulting his coaches.
“We were training with young boxers at Sonepat and it did not feel odd to meet new faces in the camp. A lot of new boxers have joined after last year’s Nationals and I am looking forward to the experience. Dinesh has joined me while Jai Bhagwan is at Madhuban for his police training. I have forgotten what happened earlier this year and have learned whom to trust. I am 90 per cent sure about taking part in the 81kg but we will sit with the coaches and decide,” said Vijender.
National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu believes that Vijender’s presence in the camp will boost the morale of the young boxers with the World Championships not far off. “He came to Patiala on Sunday and it was nice to see youngsters like Sukhdeep and Satish sparring with him. His presence is good for the youngsters and it will be good for him also. The trials are still three weeks ahead and this time will help him mentally. He is a mature boxer and I am sure he will adjust quickly. We have yet to decide about 81kg category and we will do that soon,” said Sandhu.