London Olympic boxer Devendro Singh named best sportsperson of North East
It’s a moment London Olympic quarterfinalist boxer L Devendro Singh will not forget easily. The bellicose pugilist has been named the best sportsperson of North East, for the Dinesh Goswami Trophy, by the Assam Sport Journalists Association (ASJA).
The nimble-footed boxer captured public imagination when he outboxed 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalist Pürevdorjiin Serdamba of Mongolia 16-11 in a rare show of dare-devilry, where he unleashed punches in waves reducing his opponent to merely go through the motions.
Devendro, who figured in the light-flyweight category, eventually lost to Ireland’s Paddy Barnes 18-23 in the quarterfinals – a bout many felt was a contentious one – the general feeling within the Indian boxing fraternity was that the judges didn’t properly factor in the punches thrown by the pugilist leaving boxing lovers sulking.
Barnes had bagged the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In fact, Barnes had sparred with Devendro during the Indian team’s preparatory trip to Ireland months before the London Olympics.
However, Devendro is not the only one to be meted out such unfair treatment by the judges. Earlier, Haryana boxers Sumit Sangwan (81 kg) and Manoj Kumar (64 kg) lost debatable bouts at the London Olympics.
Manjo lost to Great Britain’s Thomas Stalker 16-20 in the pre-quarterfinals, while Sumit went down to Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino by the skin of his teeth (14-15).
The Manipuri boxer secured his ticket to the London Olympics by virtue of reaching the quarter-finals of the World Boxing Championships held in Baku, Azerbaijan Tuesday, where he went down tamely 2-16 to South Korean Shin Jong-Hun.
He pipped Asian Amateur Boxing Championships silver medallists Nanao Singh Thokchom and Amandeep Singh during the trials.
He hails from the Imphal West district of Manipur and is coached by his sister Sushila Devi, who herself is a former national women’s boxing champion. She does all the strategizing for Devendra, watching his opponents’ bouts on YouTube among others.
Devendro also received coaching from Manipur state boxing coach M Narjit Singh and later Indian Boxing Coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu.
The aggressive pugilist honed his skills at the Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune.
Her statemate and London Olympic bronze medalist Mary Kom bagged the award last year.
Devendro will be presented the award during the ASJA Annual Award Function slated to be held at Landmark Hotel on March 3 at 5 pm.