'Politics, Bollywood and cricket sell in India'

He is always in the news for all the good reasons! And why not, after all, this Haryanvi boy made India proud by winning its first ever Olympic bronze medal in boxing. Creating history and raising the bar for Indian sports, Vijender Singh has proved yet again that sports other than cricket too can attract international attention and bring
glory.

In a conversation with Metrolife, the pugilist shared his thoughts one various subjects like his stint in a TV programme with Army personnel, boxing, fitness levels and of course, cricket. But being on Jai Jawan was “A very proud moment for me. I took part in gun shooting and hit bull’s eye in all five attempts And one of the officers told me I am the first guy to do so! So, all in all it was a fantastic experience.”

Army is facing a severe shortage of officers as not many youngsters are interested in signing up. Vijender comments: “The problem is that the youngsters are more educated now and hence, have too many career options. They also know what they actually want. Another factor is that Army has a very disciplined life and a lot of youngsters find the discipline hard to follow. Youth doesn’t want to be bound these days.”

“But, the Army too has its loopholes – corruption is rampant. Leave is an issue. So, these are hindrances. One thing that can be done is, like in UK and US, Army training should be made mandatory for everyone, starting right from school.”

Highlighting lack of popularity of sports other than cricket, Vijender says that, “Only politics, Bollywood and cricket sell in India as they are great sources of income. These all have become businesses because of the money involved. If you ask me, cricket should be the national sport and not hockey.”

The frank sportsman, who thinks that boxing has made him popular and not vice-versa, dreams of opening a sports academy soon. “I want to start an academy which will focus on sports and education.”

Talking about his fitness, Vijender laughs and confesses, “Once in a while, I do eat more than is necessary but then I have to exercise more! But overall, yes I have to follow a strict diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is a 24-hour job for us.”

The boxer who has given a new face to the sports fraternity, says, although there is a lot pressure, one always needs to remember one’s roots. “I always focus on giving my best, not be fake and never forget that I am boxer and not to get carried away.”

Other than boxing, Vijender loves Punjabi and Hindi songs, loves to sing and is a huge fan of Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan, who are his friends too. The good-looking pugilist has a huge female fan following too and he truely enjoys that. “Accha lagta hai ladkiya pasand karti hai. Aakhir dil to baccha hai ji.”

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