New Delhi: "I have been unlucky but who isn't in this world at some point?", asked L Devendro Singh, trying to make sense of past rejections and near misses of an otherwise fine career so far.
The 25-year-old Subedar in the Indian Army is the lone boxer among 17 Arjuna awardees finalised this year, a list which is expected to get the Sports Ministry's nod -- like all the previous years.
The flyweight boxer had been nominated in 2015 and 2016 as well but could not get the selection committee's approval despite fine performances.
"I don't believe in blaming or sulking. It's not healthy for an athlete. Being a sportsperson means giving your best and taking pride in it, instead of withdrawing yourself after a setback," Devendro told PTI in an interview.
"I am an optimist, it's fine if I didn't get it the previous years, I got it this year. I would like to savour that. I live in the present and it won't change for anything," he said.
His self-assured optimism aside, Devendro wouldn't really be faulted if he felt a shade disappointed by the double snub.
A Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, who was bested by two-time Olympic medallist and European champion Paddy Barnes in a gripping final in 2014, Devendro also has two Asian Championship medals (a silver in 2013 and a bronze in 2015) to his credit.
An Olympic quarter-finalist in 2012 London Games, Devendro has nearly always lost crucial bouts on split verdicts. Bouts that could have or perhaps should have gone his way, the biggest of the recent heartbreaks being the box-offs he lost to miss the 2016 Olympic Games qualification.
"I won't say that a loss doesn't hurt, it always does but can you really achieve anything by brooding too much? You have to move on and find new targets, which I always do. It also helps that I have a short memory, I tend to forget after a while," he laughed.
"Once you have taken up a sport like boxing at the age of 11, you have to be prepared for some blows here and there."
The former world No 3's rather philosophical take on life inside the ring comes from the days spent training at the Army Sports Institute in Pune back in 2003.
It was at this place that he was "forced" into the habit of writing a daily diary.
"We were told to write a diary by senior officers and eventually it became a habit. I used to write about my training, insecurities and several other things. I actually have four diaries filled up but I stopped in 2013 because of lack of time.
"I haven't thrown away the ones I filled. I read them when I go home to laugh at myself. They are good for stress-management sometimes," he said.
"Besides, I have four dogs and a cat at my home in Manipur. I go home and spend most of my time with them and that also takes care of any negativity which might creep in sometimes," he added.
Speaking of negativity, did it creep in when he lost the trials for the Asian Championships earlier this year, scuttling his hopes of competing in the World Championships later this month?.
"The guy who beat me in the trials was better on the day so I have no complaints. All of us in the camp are equals. I gave my best and that's what gives me satisfaction.
"That, however, does not mean that I don't have ambition. I am targetting the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year. You can't have ambition if you allow some disappointments to hamper you," he reasoned.
The diminutive tempo-boxer's positive outlook is not mere words, it is reflected in his actions as well.
The most recent example of this was a silver at a tournament in Mongolia in June, just a couple of months after the disappointment of missing out on what could have been his third successive Asian Championship medal.
"Those who don't believe are not exactly living. I like to believe that I am living," was how he chose to reflect on the medal and the heartbreak before that.
Published Date: Aug 06, 2017 17:30 PM | Updated Date: Aug 06, 2017 17:30 PM