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Don’t look at IPL and think it can happen in any sport right away- Jitender Kumar

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Jitender Kumar (born July 18, 1988) is an Indian Flyweight Boxer, who won bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games at Melbourne & 2007 Ulan Bator Asian Championships. The pocket rocket, as he is often called, Jitender is a powerhouse. All in all, only his guts, and his determination to win rival & fans’ hearts. He replies to our questions about his life, career & Indian Boxing. The interview excerpts:

Childhood days, inspiration…

Boxing came to me naturally. I was always inclined towards the sport, even as a child. I just feel lucky that I could follow my passion to this level. All my fellow boxers, and also the coaches have been the inspiration for my interest in the sport.

Struggles…

Starting off was, of course, very tough. Things were very different when compared to today’s amenities. But I think those challenges made us stronger and certainly more determined.

Boxing Skills…

There are a lot of factors that one needs to keep in mind, but the two that I rate the most are discipline and passion. If you keep at it in a focused manner and also love while you are at it, then it is a tad easier to keep going.

Boxing over the years…

Boxing has made some giant strides in the past few years. But the competition even in the earlier years was very difficult. The junior level can still be a little lighter, but there is no sparing you at the senior level. Everyone gives their absolute best and you have to be able to do the same all the time, which is really not that easy.

Academies…

I think there has been a radical change in the past few years in how even our coaches approach the sport. Earlier there were numerous issues that they had to fight off, but now as the sport is growing and they are getting a lot of support as well, they will soon show the results more and more consistently.

Coaching…

We have good coaches at all levels I guess. And as it is said many a times in sports, ‘Sometimes the student makes the teacher look good, and sometimes it is the other way round’.

Boxing development…

We are doing extremely well now at the international level too. Yes, there is definite room for improvement, but we are getting there. It is  a time bound process and it will only be possible with the support of the people, the authorities and the media.

Training facilities…

The facilities were really poor some years ago, especially compared to what we used to see internationally. But it is changing. We could definitely do with a more scientific approach towards things like injuries as that is a big part and a harsh reality of  any sports-persons’ life.

Support system…

As I said, these things take time. We are still evolving as a society and you have to give these things ample time. The authorities are only now getting a free hand and also the money required to uplift sports.

Medical & anti-doping…

it is really sad that people get into things such as these. The reasons can be many, but one that I think off is greed. I don’t know what to make of it, but there is a line between being competitive and being cynical. The authorities and coaches are doing there bit by helping out sportsperson when they can, but NADA and other bodies need to get much stricter to curb these things.

Sport promotion…

Well, boxing is a tough sport and the one way to promote it at any level is when there is enough money in it for the parents to feel secure about their kids taking it up seriously. And I think it is a cultural thing in the North that sports such as boxing and wrestling have found a foothold. But I am optimistic that it will reach out to the rest of the country as well. (For more news related to Boxing, click here)

Fan following…

We need consistent performances at all levels for people to really get into it. Once they start understanding the rules as well, it will become easier for them to relate to the sport.

Public participation…

We are getting there. I can do my bit by performing when I step into the ring, but the authorities are more competent to talk about what to do and how.

League format…

They certainly will, but not straight away. You need to prepare the groundwork before even thinking about such concepts. Don’t look at the IPL and think it can happen in any sport right away. Sports that have a base and place in the mind of the public are the ones that can do it. Hopefully boxing will get there sooner rather than later.

Upcoming championships & preparation…

I am in the process of finishing my Police Training right now. But I have been working out and am looking at next year with a lot of hope. I want to feel the rush of being in the ring again, but with the current schedule I can’t put a date on it. But I will be back soon, and for sure.