Ace Manipur boxer Dingko Singh has emerged stronger after battling bile duct cancer for two years. At a promotional event in Mumbai on Friday, six-time World Champion Mary Kom said that it was Dingko Singh who inspired her to take up boxing and become the ‘Queen of the Ring’.
A report published in the The Indian Express stated that the 1998 Asiad gold medalist made headlines in early 2017 when he was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. During the course of his treatment, Dingko was all set to sell his house to pay the “huge” medical bills.
“I have had two births in this life. A lot has changed in my life. A lot of people were thinking about what will happen to me. I was in a dire situation but I fought that and I am back on my feet. I am completely clear (of cancer) and have stopped my medication also. I just have to go for half-yearly check-ups now,” Dingko added.
Dingko said that it was “the earlier Dingko Singh” who defeated World No 3 Timur Tulayakov of Uzbekistan to win India’s first gold medal in boxing at the Asiad since 1982. Dingko said that post-recovery, he has engaged himself in training the budding boxers of his home State Manipur. He now trains 100 kids at Imphal and 25 of them are girls.
He feels that lack of financial support is one of the main reasons for which the Indian boxers have not been able to show their prowess in the ring. The boxer also felt that new players were neither being “scouted” by private sponsors or even the Government-backed Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) programme.
The 40-year-old said that given the fact that most of the boxers belonged to poor families, so, “when they won prize money, they ended up spending the amount on their family and could not afford to spend much on their training”.
Dingko opined that a boxer has to “stick to a rich diet which entails spending good amount of money. Proper financial support from the Government can help the Indian boxers become a rage in the ring in the world and occupy the top 10 positions”.
Born into a very poor family and brought up in an orphanage, Dingko’s hard work paid off when he won the Sub Junior National Boxing Championship in 1989 at Ambala when he was all of 10. This feat of Dingko caught the attention of the selectors and coaches, who began to see him as a rising star in the boxing arena. His first international event was in Bangkok in 1997 where he won gold.