CHENNAI: The coronavirus-induced lockdown has given former Indian boxer and current national
selector V Devarajan an opportunity to spend quality time with his family. Predicting a bright future for Indian boxers, he said boxing has improved by leaps and bounds in the country.
"In our time, boxing was not popular even though I won bronze in the World Cup. It's a priority sport for the ministry these days. Boxing Federation of India is doing a good job and providing good exposure to the boxers by making them play many tournaments,'' said Devarajan.
Chennai's Deva was working for the South East Central Railway in Bilaspur for the last six-seven years before being transferred to his hometown last year. "I am spending time with kids playing chess and table tennis, and watching movies. I am also reading old books. Despite being at home, I am in regular touch with authorities concerned. I get information and updates on players,'' informed Deva, who works as a sports officer in Southern Railway.
Deva believes it is the best time to be a boxer in the country. "In January 2020, nine boxers (men and women) qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, which is a great achievement. For me, Vikas Krishan Yadav (men) and Simranjit Kaur (women) are the country's best boxers at the moment,'' he said.
He, however, is not pleased with the state of affairs in Tamil Nadu as far as boxing is concerned. "The two warring factions meant TN Boxing Association is in a mess with a case pending in the court. The state got a good boxing atmosphere but need good administrators to produce quality boxers,'' said the Arjuna awardee.
"Not even a single boxer from the state won senior national gold ever since I did that in 1991. We have talented boxers but could not raise the bar when it comes to national championships. Now there are a few talented boxers like Moovendhan (bantamweight) and Madhan (lightweight). I am impressed with them and hope they shine and bring laurels to the state,'' opined Deva.
Deva, who was ranked World No 3 in 1994, used to run an academy in the city before moving to Bilaspur. "I no longer do coaching. My academy is run by my friends and old students. But students regularly visit me on the weekends for advice and clear their doubts,'' signed off Deva insisting that Tamil Nadu will produce a national champion in the near future.