Celebrated boxer Ngangom Dingko Singh, who won the gold medal at the Asian Games in 1998, passed away on Thursday after complications to his already-declining health.
He was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2017 and was being treated when he contracted jaundice and finally Covid-19. Although he partly recovered from the setbacks, Dingko Singh passed away from cancer-related complications early Thursday.
The 41-year-old boxer was bestowed with the Arjuna award in 1998 and was presented with the nation's fourth-highest civilian honor - the Padma Shri - in 2013.
Dingko Singh, who specialized in bantamweight, was instrumental in inspiring the likes of MC Mary Kom, among others.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju took to Twitter to pay tribute to Dingko Singh. Rijiju tweeted,
“I’m deeply saddened by the demise of Shri Dingko Singh. One of the finest boxers India has ever produced, Dinko’s gold medal at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games sparked the Boxing chain reaction in India. I extend my sincere condolences to the bereaved family. RIP Dinko."
Boxer Vijender Singh soon followed suit and tweeted:
“My sincerest condolences on this loss. May his life’s journey & struggle forever remain a source inspiration for the upcoming generations. I pray that the bereaved family finds the strength to overcome this period of grief & mourning #dinkosingh.”
Soon, Mary Kom paid rich tributes to Dingko Singh and said his legacy will live on forever.
“You were a true hero of our nation. You leave but your legacy will live among us. RIP."
Former hockey player Viren Rasquinha said Dingko Singh is a “real superstar” and will always be remembered.
“Really sad news of the passing away of Dingko Singh, 1998 Asian Games Boxing Gold medallist. Just 42 years old. Too soon. A real superstar. Got to know him well when he coached Sarita Devi. His commitment to boxing was special. Go well my friend. You will always be remembered,"
Health complications worsened Dingko Singh's situation
After being diagnosed with liver cancer, Dingko Singh underwent radiation therapy at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in New Delhi in January and returned to Imphal soon after.
However, during the coronavirus induced lockdown, Dingko Singh had to be airlifted from Imphal to New Delhi after his treatment was delayed due to the lockdown.
Dingko Singh revealed that he was depressed as he was unable to travel to Delhi for his cancer treatment. In a video message, released by the Boxing Federation of India, he had then said:
“If the ambulance wouldn’t have been arranged, it could have been a big problem for me. Even though I wanted to come to Delhi, I couldn’t come because of the lockdown.”
He contracted Covid-19 too and recovered after being treated for it. After his recovery in July, Dingko Singh said:
“It was a very difficult one month. I can’t thank enough the doctors and nurses who treated me. I am indebted to them for life. I tested positive five times during my stay in hospital. It was very traumatizing because I would see people, who came after me, leave before me. But somehow I kept going thanks to the doctors and nurses.”