New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) The first Indian boxer to win a medal at the Olympics, Vijender Singh, said Thursday that his bronze medal in Beijing had changed the face of boxing and motivated other boxers in the country to reach new heights.
Post the 2008 Beijing Games, Vijender has had a few ups and downs in his career. He lost in the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships, beaten by Abbos Atoev of Uzbekistan in the semi-final of the 75 kg middleweight category and managed only a bronze in the 2010 Commonwealth Games held at home soil.
"It was a big change, for me, the sport and the countries outlook towards the sport. It was the first medal in boxing and we really needed something of that sort for the sport," he said.
"Even my fellow boxers approach changed, everyone started to believe and I think belief makes all the difference. The journey is still going on and with God's grace will have a few more medals to show for."
Vijender became the first Indian boxer to qualify for the Olympic Games for a third successive time after beating Chuluuntumur Tumurkhuyag of Mongolia 27-17.
"It obviously feels good, but I just don't want to be tagged as the one who played three Olympics, but as the one who got medals in two," said Vijender.
After the Beijing Olympics and the Milan World Championships Vijender was the top ranked boxer in the 75kg weight category, however injuries and a spate of poor performances has seen him drop out of the top 45.
"See, nothing is permanent. Having said that, it makes a difference to know that you are number one in the world or you are in the top five. But it does not drive my game in any way.
I was number one in the world at one point of time, now someone else is and maybe someday my name will again feature in the top list. It is a derivative of your performance in some tournaments, that's how it works."