Home / Sports / Dingko Singh (1979-2021): Asiad gold medallist, trailblazer who confirmed the best way for India’s boxing stars, dies at 42

Dingko Singh (1979-2021): Asiad gold medallist, trailblazer who confirmed the best way for India’s boxing stars, dies at 42

FROM AN orphan who knew nothing else however boxing to turning into a job mannequin for India’s biggest champions, Dingko Singh touched many lives. On Thursday, the 1998 Asian Video games gold medallist succumbed to most cancers, after a protracted combat, at his house in Imphal. He was 42.

It was Dingko’s historic gold medal that raised the morale of success-starved Indian boxing and went on to encourage Olympic medallists reminiscent of Vijender Singh and Mary Kom. His first coach Ibomcha Singh nonetheless remembers the nine-year-old boy who shadow-boxed along with his trainees on the Sports activities Authority of India (SAI) centre in Imphal.

“A trainee advised me that Dingko is from the orphanage close by. Dingko would inform me, ‘Sir, maa-baap nahin hain, humko boxing hello aata hai’,” mentioned Ibomcha, breaking down over the cellphone from Imphal. “When Dingko gained the Asian Video games gold, there was no electrical energy in Imphal resulting from a strike. We lit candles and celebrated the entire night time with the Indian flag. Dingko knew solely boxing, and the nation will all the time bear in mind him for that.”

Certainly one of eight kids, Dingko grew up in Sekta village close to Imphal along with his elder brother and youthful sister after their father died and mom left house. The siblings took up work as farm labourers whilst Dingko ended up on the orphanage. That was when he met Imbocha, and inside a yr, grew to become the sub-junior nationwide champion.

His lightning-fast response time and willpower left boxing consultants mesmerised at first sight. For former India chief coach G S Sandhu, Dingko was a “sturdy boxer with an unmatched response time”. Fellow bantamweight boxer Akhil Kumar “fell in love with the left hook”.

“After seeing Dingko throw the left hook with such pace and accuracy, it grew to become one among my favorite punches,” mentioned Akhil, the 2006 Commonwealth Video games bantamweight champion. “I obtained to coach with him in the course of the Manchester CWG the place he shared a number of ideas with me.”

In 1998, Dingko ended India’s 16-year await the Asian Video games gold medal. However the victory didn’t come simply. In Bangkok, he defeated world No. three Wong Sontaya and world No. 5 Timur Tulyakov within the remaining two bouts. The actual combat, nevertheless, was to get Dingko on the flight to Bangkok.

Two days earlier than the Indian contingent’s departure, Dingko was dropped by the Indian Olympic Affiliation, with officers deciding that he was out of shape. What adopted was a mass intervention, as Sandhu, overseas coach BI Fernandez and boxing federation president Ashok Kumar Mattoo known as for Dingko to be reincluded.

“I don’t know what led to IOA eradicating his identify however it was a nervous night time for all of us at (the nationwide camp in) Patiala,” recalled Sandhu. “Some boxers noticed Dingko going in the direction of the close by railway tracks and we scampered to find him. We made him consider that he’ll go to Bangkok. I made positive that two boxers remained in his room. Such was his ardour for the game.”

Fernandez usually accompanied Dingko to worldwide competitions previous to the Asian Video games.

“Once I first educated him within the nationwide camp, I used to be shocked by the pace of his punches. It was not regular for an Indian boxer and I might usually joke with him that it’s good for the opponents however not for the sparring coach,” mentioned the Cuban coach. “As soon as in Cuba, he beat a top-five Mongolian boxer. Afterwards, greater than 100 youngsters lined as much as take his autograph. For him, it was like successful a medal.”

After retirement, Dingko served because the Indian Navy’s boxing coach for greater than 5 years earlier than resigning resulting from sickness and becoming a member of SAI Imphal. Suronjoy Singh, the 2010 Commonwealth Video games champion who works as a coach with the Navy, says Dingko was his idol.

“I met him as a child after the Sydney Olympics, and he made positive he met each single child on the stadium at Imphal. As a coach, he was aggressive and would ask trainees to coach with the opposite hand if one hand was injured. However then, he would additionally let many boxers from Manipur and different states keep at his Mumbai house throughout Navy trials,” Suronjoy mentioned.

Quickly, nevertheless, Dingko’s greatest battles have been outdoors the ring.

In 2017, when medical doctors confirmed the most cancers analysis of 2016, spouse Babai Ngangom didn’t have the center to interrupt the information to Dingko. And final yr, Dingko examined constructive for Covid after returning to Imphal from Delhi, the place he was present process remedy for liver most cancers.

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