Dingko Singh — the ‘hot-blooded’ Asian Games gold medalist who inspired a generation of boxers – ThePrint

Asian Games gold medalist boxer Ngangom Dingko Singh died at the age of 42 | Twitter | @KirenRijiju

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New Delhi: Ngangom Dingko Singh, former Asian Games gold medalist boxer died Thursday after a long battle with cancer. He was 42.

Dingko, who hailed from east Imphal in Manipur, was first diagnosed with liver cancer in 2017. He also tested positive for Covid-19 in May last year but recovered.

BJP MP and former cricketer Gautam Gambhir provided financial help for Dingko’s treatment in 2017. “We must take care of our champions just as they make us proud,” Gambhir had tweeted.

Condolence messages poured in after the news of Dingko’s death broke, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling the former boxer a “sporting superstar”.

Olympic medalist Mary Kom said Dingko was a “true hero of our nation”.

“He was a rockstar, a legend, a rage. I remember I used to queue up to watch him fight in Manipur. He inspired me. He was my hero. It is a huge loss. He has gone too soon,” she said.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said Dingko was “one of the finest boxers India has ever produced”.

Hot-blooded boxer with a scientific technique

Dingko Singh was a former bantamweight boxer who inspired an entire generation of boxers. He defeated Sontaya Wongprates of Thailand and Timur Tulyakov of Uzbekistan to win the gold medal at the 1998 Asian Games. He wasn’t initially selected for the Games but was picked after he “threatened to commit suicide”.

Dginko Singh was only 10 years old when he won the sub-junior national boxing championship in Ambala. He made his international debut in 1997 in Bangkok with the King’s Cup.

Dingko also participated in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2013.

Jay Kowli, former secretary-general of the Boxing Federation of India, said Dingko was the hottest blood that he has ever come across. “However, he was also extremely scientific in his boxing. And for all his hot-headedness, he always had his nose down and guard up to protect himself at all times,” Kowli wrote.

Perhaps, he adopted the same fighting style in his battle against cancer. He underwent 13 rounds of chemotherapy. After testing positive for Covid, he said: “It was not easy but I told myself, ‘ladna hai toh ladna hai’. I was not prepared to give up, no one should.”

He was also an employee of the Indian Navy and took up coaching at Imphal’s Sports Authority of India centre before he was diagnosed with cancer.

“He was exceptional in the ring and a character off it. What a talent and equally sad is how he could not achieve more,” former national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, who was in charge during the 1998 Asian Games, told news agency PTI.

In 2018, it was announced that Shahid Kapoor would act in a biopic on the pugilist. The movie is set to release in 2022.

Also read: English bowler Ollie Robinson suspended as old Islamophobic, sexist tweets resurface


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