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International boxer Dingku Singh Ngangom passes away

Former Asian Games gold medallist in boxing Dingku Singh Ngangom. File photo   | Photo Credit: V.V. Subramanyam

International boxer and Arjuna awardee Dingku Singh Ngangom, hailing from Manipur, died on Thursday morning after a protracted fight against cancer. Family sources said that he had been battling terminal cancer for some years.

The Asian Games gold medallist was awarded the Padma Shri in 2013 by the Union government.

International boxer Dingku Singh Ngangom passes away

He rose to prominence by winning the 1997 Kings Cup in Bangkok.

Dingku could not make it to the 1998 Asian Games squad after his second round exit in the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games and took to drinking out of frustration.

He was included in the squad at the last minute and gave his best to bring India its first boxing gold medal in 16 years.

In an earlier interview, Dingku said his semifinal bout against local favourite and World No.2 Wong Prages Sontaya was the toughest fight of his career. The Thai supporters threw beer cans at him after the bout.

Dingku beat World No. 3 Timur Tulyakov of Uzbekistan in the bantamweight final to corner glory.

On his return to Imphal, he was accorded a hero’s welcome. Later, the Manipur Government named a road after him.

He was conferred the Arjuna Award in 1998 and Padma Shri in 2013.

“Dingku was a great fighter with strong determination. Like Vijender’s Olympics bronze medal, Dingko’s Asian Games gold popularised boxing, especially in the North-East,” said G.S. Sandhu, who was the head coach in 1998.

Middleweight boxer Jitender Kumar, who was Dingko’s team-mate in 1998 Asian Games and 2000 Olympics, walked down memory lane. “Dingko gave his best in the final and was completely exhausted. The crowd was hostile, but he never reacted. He was a fine boxer and a good human being,” said Jitender.

Vijender Singh, who led an initiative to raise funds for Dingku’s cancer treatment, was emotional. “It is shocking. As a youngster, I watched his Asian Games fights on a black-and-white television set in our village. He really inspired a lot of boxers,” said Vijender.

Six-time World champion M.C. Mary Kom tweeted, “You were a true hero of our nation. You leave but your legacy will live among us. RIP.”

Dingku left his legacy as a coach. He coached the Navy team to team championship victory in the 2009 inter-Services meet and groomed some top boxers including Olympian Anthresh Lakra and Commonwealth Games champion Suranjoy Singh.

“He was a hard taskmaster but was friendly after the training. His mantra was ‘No pain, no gain,’” said Suranjoy.

After retiring from the Navy, Dingko joined the Sports Authority of India (SAI) at Imphal. The 2019 National boxing championships at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, where he served as Manipur’s head coach, was one of Dingko’s last assignments before the recurrence of cancer last year.

The Manipur government had honoured him by naming an important road in Imphal after him.

Many sports clubs and dignitaries have condoled his death. His last rites were performed in Sekta, his native village in Imphal east district. Dingko was 42 and is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

PM condoles death

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday condoled the demise of Asian Games gold medal-winning former boxer Dingko Singh and said he was was a sporting superstar who contributed to furthering the popularity of boxing. 

"Shri Dingko Singh was a sporting superstar, an outstanding boxer who earned several laurels and also contributed to furthering the popularity of boxing," Mr. Modi tweeted.

"Saddened by his passing away. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti," he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 4:55:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/international-boxer-ngangom-dingku-passes-away/article34775202.ece

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