Manoj Kumar interview: Commonwealth Games 2018 bronze has boosted my confidence for Tokyo 2020

Manoj Kumar was among the boxers who was felicitated by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) in New Delhi on Wednesday after the team returned from a successful outing at the Commonwealth Games 2018 at Gold Coast in Australia.

For someone who has achieved the highest honours in the past with a gold medal in the 2010 edition of the event in New Delhi, one would believe that a bronze wouldn't quite be as satisfying. Manoj, however, maintained that he is happy with his achievement for now and that the bronze has helped instil confidence into his preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Bronze medallist India's Manoj Kumar celebrates during the medal ceremony for the men's 69kg boxing event during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios venue on the Gold Coast on April 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony WALLACE

Manoj Kumar said that his Commonwealth Games 2018 bronze medal has boosted his confidence for 2020 Olympics. AFP

"Winning and losing are part of life, but there are performances that make one happy. My performances were good and worthy of praise and my bouts were closely fought. As far as the gold medal goes, I have won gold in the past. Time and situations keep changing, and one should accept whatever he or she gets in a given situation," said Manoj in an interaction with Firstpost along the sidelines of the BFI event in New Delhi.

"This bronze medal has instilled some confidence into my preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and will also serve me well in the upcoming Asian Games, as well as in the Olympic qualifiers that are to follow," added Manoj, who added that an Olympic medal means everything to him, and that his legacy would be incomplete without one.

Manoj claimed bronze after losing to England's Pat McCormack in the 69kg semi-finals at the Gold Coast Games that concluded on 15 April. Overall, India's tally of nine medals from boxing — which includes three gold, and as many silver and bronze — turned out to be the best-ever haul for India in the history of the game.

The pugilist from Haryana credited the BFI as well as the support staff for Indian boxing's rich haul in the recently-concluded event.

"The credit would mainly go to the boxing management, BFI, president Ajay Singh as well as every single individual associated with Indian boxing — be it doctors, physios, masseurs or coaches. The credit would go to each and every one, as well as to SAI Patiala because they take full care of us boxers," said Manoj.

Among the steps taken by the BFI ahead of the mega-event was sending the boxers to Australia a week before the other members of the Indian contingent to help them acclimatise to the local conditions at the Australian Institute of Sports in Canberra, which according to Manoj, was one of the factors that worked in favour of the Indian boxers.

"We practice according to the weather conditions, and if there are any illnesses, or physical adaptations to take place, we still have some time in hand before the start of the event. That way, we are prepared for the tournament," said Manoj.

Indian boxing has been on the rise ever since the BFI was recognised as the governing body for boxing by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), with events such as the India Open being staged to help improve the standard of the sport in the country.

"For the last four years, (Indian) boxing was like an orphan (due to BFI's ban). BFI's return to the fold has helped give us the family that we had missed for so long, with the reigns of this family in the hands of our president Ajay Singh, and the responsibility of which he is carrying out very well.

"He (Singh) stands beside the boxers all the time, as you would've seen, and takes strict action on any complaint or request from the boxers. We've had a lot of support from him, and it is on the basis of that support that Indian boxing has charted a rise," added Manoj.

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Updated Date: Apr 18, 2018 21:03:43 IST

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