GUWAHATI, Sept 6 - After finally being conferred with the Arjuna Award recently, L Devendro Singh is even more determined and has set his sights on the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games to be held next year.
In an exclusive telephonic interview with The Assam Tribune, the Commonwealth Games silver-medallist spoke about his future plans as well as his journey so far.
Despite past rejections and near misses after being nominated for the Arjuna Award in 2015 and 2016, Devendro was the lone boxer among 17 Arjuna awardees this year.
�I was nominated earlier also. Finally I have been awarded and I am really very happy about it. It�s great to be awarded after all these years of hard work,� said the 25-year-old Subedar in the Indian Army.
Regarding his next target, Devendro said: �My next target is to do well in the Nationals this year but my main focus would be the Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2018. The Olympics in 2020 is my target and to get a medal there is the ultimate goal. There have been changes in the rules so accordingly we are preparing with our coaches.�
The former World No. 3 is very much happy with the assistance from the Boxing Federation of India (BFI). During the period of four years between 2012-2016, the sport suffered the most. Though the boxers were allowed to participate in international events, the Indian flag was not allowed to fly in boxing arena. The boxers were not allowed to represent the country and participated under the AIBA banner only.
�I am training at the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune and we get the best of facilities there. Earlier we had some problems as the federation was banned but now we are getting the best facilities. There have been a lot of improvements after the new federation came into existence and the exposure tournaments have been a very good learning experience.�
At a time when some of the leading boxers are turning professional, Devendro insists his focus would still be the three major events.
�I am not thinking about turning professional at this point of time. My main target is the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.�
A Commonwealth Games silver-medallist, Devendro also has two Asian Championship medals (a silver in 2013 and a bronze in 2015) to his credit.
Asked regarding the change in weight category, the diminutive tempo-boxer said: �I changed my weight category during the last Nationals held at Guwahati as I was playing in the light flyweight category for the last eight to nine years. Everyone changes the weight category after a certain point of time. Most of the light flyweight opponents have also made a switch to flyweight category now.�
Reflecting on his journey so far, Devendro said: �I started boxing in 2002 and my sister is also a boxer. She is a former international boxer so I took up the sport following her footsteps. I didn�t play much in Manipur and it was I think one year before moving to ASI in Pune. Two coaches came to Imphal to spot talent and I was among the selected group. My boxing journey basically started from ASI.�