Vijender Singh turns pro. India’s Rio Olympics preparation in jeopardy?

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In a massive turn of events, Indian boxing sensation Vijender Singh, read erstwhile boxing sensation has decided to step up his career in the professional field. The Olympic medallist from Bhiwani, Haryana has signed a multi-year promotional agreement with Queensberry Promotions through IOS Sports & Entertainment.

“I’m excited to turn pro and looking forward to the new chapter of my life. I want to train hard and perform for my country at the global level. My immediate goal will be to work hard and make a good boxing record in the next year or so,” an elated Vijender Singh said at the press conference in London today.

Not really sure whether he’ll be representing the nation at a global level or his decision would direly affect the boxing contingent’s preparation for the forthcoming Rio Olympics. If India’s boxing chief coach Gurbax Sandhu’s word is anything to go by, Sandhu has been quoted as saying by Mid-Day that if Vijender Singh does decide to go pro, it will ‘definitely affect’ India’s Olympic preparations.

It must be noted, once a boxer decides to go professional, he cannot compete at an amateur level (unless they’re part of The International Boxing Association’s pro boxing competetion APB). Clearly, Vijender Singh will miss the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

Singh would be training under renowned coach Lee Beard and shall base himself in Manchester, England. He has to his credit two Silver medals at the 2006 and 2014 Commonwealth Games; bronze at the 2006 Asian Games, 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2009 World Amateur Championships and 2010 Commonwealth Games; Gold at the 2010 Asian Games, and 2009’s World no. 1 ranking in middleweight category.

Vijender Singh’s decision leaves a lot to be imagined. While it is undoubtedly a player’s personal choice to go professional, is it justified at the cost of the nation’s Olympics’ preparation? Further, is this the way forward for all the athletes amidst the mishandling and corruption that has made the Indian sports’ future so bleak?

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