'Reborn' Indian boxing legend Dingko Singh gets back on his feet after defeating liver cancer

A year ago, Dingko Singh’s life was stalked by uncertainty as he battled a form of liver cancer. But the man whose gold medal at the Bangkok Asian Games as a 19-year-old sparked a boxing revolution in Manipur is back on his feet.

Amit Kamath January 17, 2019 22:59:08 IST
'Reborn' Indian boxing legend Dingko Singh gets back on his feet after defeating liver cancer
  • A year ago, Dingko Singh’s life was stalked by uncertainty as he battled cholangiocarcinoma, a form of liver cancer that originates in the bile ducts.

  • Dingko Singh had to sell off his house to cover treatment costs for curing cholangiocarcinoma.

  • While the government also covered some of the costs of treatment, benefactors like Gautam Gambhir also pitched in funds.

Dingko Singh calls it his rebirth. As he breaks into a smile that is brighter than a thousand spotlights, it’s hard to disagree.

A year ago, Dingko’s life was stalked by uncertainty as he battled cholangiocarcinoma, a form of liver cancer that originates in the bile ducts.

Reborn Indian boxing legend Dingko Singh gets back on his feet after defeating liver cancer

Former India boxer Dingko Singh was present at a press conference hosted by Mumbai Marathon organisers on Friday. Image credit: Mumbai Marathon

The fight, which cost him his house in Imphal, left him without a significant portion of his liver.

But the man whose gold medal at the Bangkok Asian Games as a 19-year-old sparked a boxing revolution in Manipur is back on his feet. The 40-year-old looks perhaps as fit as he did during his playing days, and a far cry away from a year ago, when despondent pictures of him huddled under a duvet appeared in newspapers and on news channels.

“I have had two births,” says Dingko on the sidelines of a Mumbai Marathon press conference. “I won't talk about the earlier Dingko Singh, but I want to talk about this Dingko Singh. A lot has changed in life. A lot of people were thinking what will happen to me. I was in a dire situation, but I fought that and am back on my feet. I am completely cured now and have stopped my medication also. I just have to go for half-yearly check-ups.”

Having gotten treated at New Delhi’s Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Dingko is back to coaching youngsters back in Imphal.

“I train around a 100 kids back at the Khuman Lampak SAG centre in Manipur. Around 25 of those are girls. We teach them only the basics, then they're transferred elsewhere for further coaching,” he says.

He’s in the process of building a new house having sold the previous one to generate funds required to carry out his treatment. He points out that the Central Government helped him with some funds to cover his treatment costs, while other benefactors like former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir also chipped in with generous donations.

“I really wanted to meet and personally thank Gautam Gambhir for all the help he gave me at the time. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that. But we spoke over the phone,” he says.

Dingko was a special guest at a press conference held by the organisers of the Mumbai Marathon on Thursday to honour Mary Kom, the event ambassador for the race’s 16th edition. Six-time world champion Mary has often spoken about how Dingko was the inspiration behind her taking up the sport of boxing, as is the case for many Manipuri boxers of her time.

Incidentally, while a biopic on Mary’s life released five years ago, a Bollywood flick on Dingko’s life is in the works, with Shahid Kapoor already being roped in to play the boxer.

“I will be meeting with the filmmakers during this trip to Mumbai. Hopefully, it will be a good one,” says Dingko.

It remains to be seen whether it can match the drama of Dinkgo’s real life.

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