Shiv Singh is a doyen among coaches in India and his name draws instant respect from all quarters. The legendary boxing coach has given 37 years of his life to shaping several pugilists for the nation. Recently, Singh won the Dronacharya Award for lifetime achievement. At that ebullient hour, he talked to The Daily Guardian. Excerpts:
Q.Many congratulations to you on getting this prestigious award. Please tell us how you are feeling at the moment.
A. I am delighted. I believe in God and I have always maintained that if you give 120%, you will surely be rewarded by the supreme power. At the same time, I am filled with gratitude for my boxing fraternity. I also want to convey special thanks to the Ministry of Sports for recognising my work.
Q. Who would be the person from your life whom you recall at this time for always lending you support?
A. Without an iota of doubt, that would be my better half. For 25 years, I remained in charge of national teams of one category or the other. She took extra pains then, bringing up children, purchasing things, managing home affairs – the list of her burdens is long. She managed everything. All my worries evaporated because of her. That’s why I could concentrate on my dream. I am thankful for her kind support.
Q. Is there a special moment which makes this award mean a lot to you?
A. In 1996, I completed my Diploma in Germany. I could have settled there. The Head of the Department of the university persuaded me hard on stage to stay. But I politely denied his offer. I wanted to return to serve the nation. Today, I am so happy that my decision was the correct one.
Q. You were the coach of the Punjab team in the Big Bout League. Tell us something about this new league concept in India.
A. It is probably the best thing that could have been done for the betterment of the game. The TRPs of the Big Bout League surpassed all the ceilings of expectations. Lesser-known boxers got a chance to showcase their skills in front of a rousing crowd. Millions of equally keen fans received the glitzy telecast on their TVs. I hope that the event will go on year after year and touch a new milestone.
Q. Could you please tell us the names of a few prominent boxers who took guidance from you at any point in their careers?
A. All were good boxers — I only gave them the direction and motivation. I would only add that I have had the privilege of shaping boxers like Vijender, Lovlina, the legendary Mary Kom, Akhil Kumar, and Simranjeet to a degree. They are very talented. I am pleased that they all brought respect for the nation.
Q. Last but not the least, what are your expectations from the Tokyo Olympics?
A. The coronavirus pandemic has broken the rhythm of boxers around the world. In the absence of competition, it is tough to say anything about our boxers and their rivals. But we are motivated. The government’s support is excellent. The Boxing Federation president is the best that the nation could get. Overall, I expect the best show by the team in the Japanese capital.