Vijender Singh's trial by fire begins

Vijender SinghVijender Singh was the last among the competitors to arrive at the boxing hall, reaching the venue from his hostel room a little less than half an hour before his bout (IE Photo Kamleshwar Singh)

About halfway into an evenly fought first round of their bout at the selection trials for the World Championships, Jaideep Singh threw a hard right at Vijender Singh. Much like a tennis player, Jaideep grunted with the effort he was putting in. The responding punch from Vijender was slow and without much force, but he grunted for effect anyway. The referee, like nearly everybody else at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) boxing hall, didn't buy it and gave Vijender a warning for speaking.

Sitting along one of the side rings, watching the bout, was Dinesh Kumar. "Rehne do refereeji, woh apni bhaavnaon pe kaboo nahi laga paya," he smirked. As a ripple of laughter spread across the hall, even Vijender couldn't help but glance at Dinesh and grin. Also Read: Vijender takes leave days before trials for Worlds

Until that moment, Vijender had seemed incapable of anything other than nervousness. He was the last among the competitors to arrive at the boxing hall, reaching the venue from his hostel room a little less than half an hour before his bout. He slipped in from a side entrance and instead of making his way to the area where the rest of his compatriots were warming up prior to or cooling down post their bouts, chose to sit on a plastic chair in a corner alongside a group of NIS hostelers who were watching the trials.

Even as Sukhdeep Singh, a promising contender also in the middleweight category, impressed with his movement and weaving, Vijender continued to sit in the chair, looking away from the action. Someone hoping to get a picture of the Olympic bronze medalist was told off, with Vijender moving his palms parallel either side of his head, emphasising his need to focus. Also Read: Cut shortens Devendro Singh's outing, others stay cautious

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