I am the same boxer from 2010 but with more experience: Vikas Krishan before heading to Gold Coast
Having been in and around the circuit for almost 10 years, nothing fazes boxer Vikas Krishan. He has had his fair share of time in the limelight and also, away from it and he knows at the end of the day, all that matters is what you do in the ring and nothing else.
Krishan will be making his debut at the Commonwealth Games, but the enormity of the event, the pressure of representing the country, doesn't bother him one bit. "The preparation has been going well. It has been almost two decades since I started boxing and I have the required experience. Also, I have been a part of the Indian team for 10 years now, so I don't feel nervous before a major event now," the seasoned boxer tells Sportskeeda on the sidelines of an event organised by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) in New Delhi.
"Apart from that, I have been working very hard, going to tournaments and beating some of the top boxers. So, my confidence is also boosted and I feel I will be able to perform well," he goes on to add.
Winning gold as well as being adjudged the best boxer at the recently-concluded Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament in Sophia, Bulgaria, has been a huge morale booster for Krishan. In the final, defeated USA's Troy Isley, the World Championships bronze-medallist, a win that gave him 'a lot of confidence', as he concedes.
It was a huge turnaround for Krishan, who had been struggling with a hand injury for a while and was also in the disciplinary line of fire after giving a walkover in the semi-finals of last year's Asian Championships.
In Gold Coast, though, he feels that the English boxers will pose the biggest threat as he says, "My biggest challenge at CWG will be England, obviously. The coaches have made plans, they have outlined strategies and all. But I'm not looking to plan anything specific for anyone. I will see it out in the ring. I can tell you one thing, whatever comes at me, I'll punch twice the weight in return."
On being asked about what he expects from the Indian contingent at the Games, the 26-year-old concedes he has high hopes from all the boxers. Also, this time, the boxing team has just the right mix of raw talent and experience which will make them a formidable force.
"I think India will win the most medals among all countries in the boxing events. There are young boxers in the team like Naman Tanwar and Hussam Mohammed, and at the same time, it also has some experienced, seasoned pros like Manoj Kumar, Satish Kumar. Manish Kaushik, as well, can win a medal. It's the best boxing contingent India has ever sent to the CWG," Krishan feels.
The boxer, who hails from Hisar district of Haryana, had made the headlines for the first time back in 2010 when, as an 18-year-old, he had won the gold medal at the Asian Games. Before that, he had won the bronze medal at the Youth Olympics and the gold medal at the Youth World Amateur Boxing Championships in the same year.
"I think my speed, my agility has gone down," Vikash admits when asked about how he has changed over the years. "But I have gained experience. So, even though I have lost that speed, I am the same boxer that I was eight years back who won the gold medal at the Asian Games. I am the same Vikas."
Krishan, surprisingly, has not made any plans for the post-Commonwealth Games period. He believes in short-term thinking and does not want to get too ahead of himself.
"I have not thought anything ahead of the Commonwealth Games yet. I believe it's better to focus on short-term goals rather than thinking too far ahead. Previously, I used to think long term. In 2012, I had targetted the Rio Olympics, but then that turned out to be a disappointing affair. So, I have learnt that one should always think about the next tournament and not ahead of that," he says.
The fortunes of the sport in India has changed for the better drastically after the recent recognition of the BFI by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Ever since the new federation, headed by Ajay Singh, has come into existence, the Indian boxers have experienced a surge in terms of exposure and support.
"When someone, who is financially and politically strong, comes into the system, obviously it is beneficial," Krishan says.
"Whatever we have asked for, the federation has provided. In fact, if we have asked for something, they have provided us with the best of that thing. So, we really have nothing to complain about and if we cannot perform in Gold Coast, we have only ourselves to blame," he signs off with a determined look on his face.