New Delhi: Asian Games gold medalist and Indian boxer Dinko Singh passed away on Thursday after a prolonged battle with liver cancer. He was 42 years old and was battling the disease since 2017. He is survived by wife Babai Ngangom and a son and daughter. Apart from being suffering from cancer, the bantamweight (54kg weight category) boxer had also been infected with Kovid-19 last year and was also suffering from jaundice.
Boxer Vikas Krishnan, who is gearing up for the Olympics, said, "We have lost a legend." Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted, "I am deeply saddened by the passing away of Shri Dinko Singh. He was one of the best boxers of India. Dinko's gold medal won at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games sparked a boxing revolution in India. I express my deepest condolences to the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace.'
This superstar from Manipur won his first national title (Sub Junior) at the age of 10. He was the first star boxer of Indian boxing whose Asian Games gold medal inspired many to join the sport including six-time world champion MC Mary Kom.
Mary Kom said, 'He was a rockstar, a legend, a warrior. I remember standing in a queue to watch his match in Manipur. He inspired me. He was my hero. This is a huge loss. He left too soon.
Dinko was considered a fearless boxer. He defeated two Olympic medalists Sontaya Wangprates of Thailand and Taimur Tulyakov of Uzbekistan on his way to a gold medal at the Baikok Asian Games, a feat for an Indian boxer at the time. Interestingly, he was not selected in the opening squad for the games and was picked up after registering a protest.
India's first Olympic medalist boxer Vijender Singh tweeted, 'My heartfelt condolences on this loss. His life and struggle will always be a source of inspiration for future generations. I pray to God to give strength to the bereaved family to overcome this time of sorrow and grief. Dingko won the gold medal at the Asian Games in 1998 and was awarded the Arjuna Award in the same year. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2013 for his contribution to sports.
Dinko, who served in the Indian Navy, became a coach after retiring from boxing. He used to coach at the Sports Authority of India's Imphal center but was later confined to his home due to illness. He was brought to Delhi last year to undergo the necessary radiation therapy for cancer. Due to jaundice, his therapy could not be done. He was sent back to Imphal but got infected with Kovid-19 on his return home. Due to which he had to spend a month in the hospital. After recovering from the illness, he said, 'It was not easy but I told myself, if you want to fight, you have to fight. I was not ready to give up. No one should give up.