The Fact News Service
New Delhi, June 10Asian Games gold medal-winning former boxer Dingko Singh, who inspired a generation of Indian pugilists with his swashbuckling ring craft and flamboyant personality, died on Thursday after a long battle with liver cancer. He was 42 and had been fighting the disease since 2017. He is survived by his wife Babai Ngangom, a son and a daughter. During his battle with cancer, the former bantamweight (54kg) boxer’s health woes were compounded by a bout of jaundice and Covid-19 last year. “We lost a legend,” Olympic-bound boxer Vikas Krishan said summing up what he meant to Indian boxing. Dingko’s gold in the Bangkok Asiad was the first in 16 years for Indian boxing after Kaur Singh’s top finish at the regional showpiece’s 1982 edition. “Dingko Singh passing away is an irreplaceable loss for Indian Boxing. He was an inspiration to a generation of boxers and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations,” Boxing Federation of India President Ajay Singh said. “In this hour of grief and loss, the boxing family stands in solidarity with his wife and family and pray for the departed soul,” he added. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju also offered condolences on his demise along with several Indian boxers, some of whom have only heard tales of his dazzling persona. “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 1998 Bangkok Asian Games sparked the Boxing chain reaction in India,” Rijiju said.
The Manipuri superstar, who won his maiden national title (sub-junior) as a 10-year-old, was among the first modern stars of Indian boxing with his Asian Games gold and inspired the likes of six-time world champion M C Mary Kom among others.
Dingko was bestowed the Arjuna award the same year he won the single biggest medal medal of his career. In 2013, he was honoured with the Padma Shri for his contribution to the sport.
An employee of Indian Navy, Dingko had taken to coaching at Imphal’s Sports Authority of India Centre after hanging up his gloves but illnesses came in the way of his progress and he was mostly confined to his home in the later part of his life.