Railway pugilist Varinder Singh has cemented his place for the next month’s World Boxing Championships. It has happened courtesy of the successful defense of his 60kg title at the recently concluded senior men’s National Boxing Championships in Karnataka.
The 24-year-old Punjab boxer works with Eastern Railway. He said his first goal of the 2021 season was achieved after winning gold in the nationals. His next goal is to earn a podium finish at next month’s World Boxing Championships. It is scheduled to be held from October 24 to November 6 in Belgrade.
Winners of gold medals in their respective weight categories at the nationals will automatically get a berth in the national squad for the upcoming World Championships.
In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Varinder revealed:
“I am excited to win a gold medal and cement my place for the next month’s World Boxing Championships. My next goal is to have a podium finish in Belgrade.”
At the 2019 National Boxing Championships held in Himachal Pradesh, Varinder had won a gold medal in 60kg. He was also declared the most promising boxer of the competition.
The 2020 national competition was disrupted due to the pandemic. However, winning back-to-back gold medals wasn’t an easy task for the Railway boxer based in Patiala.
Due to the pandemic, several boxers weren’t regular for practice, said Varinder. Since there were hardly any sparring partners, he restructured his training plan, emphasizing on shadow practice and physical fitness to prepare for the national championships in Karnataka.
“Local friends and training partners were reluctant to come out due to the pandemic. Sometimes I had to request my elder brother, a former state level boxer, to become a sparring partner. It was a challenging time for me to prepare for the national meet,” he added.
The lack of sparring partners wasn’t deterrent. Varinder shifted his focus more to maintaining his fitness. Enhanced physical fitness worked in his favor. He comfortably won all his matches at the national meet.
“I increased the duration of fitness drills from 80 minutes to 120 minutes in one session. Sometimes I devoted 180 minutes in the gym,” explains Varinder.
He was not the only athlete to clinch a gold medal for his department. Govind Kumar won second gold for Railway in the 48kg.
Varinder happy with BFI rules and excited for national camp
Varinder said he was comfortable with the introduction of headgear at the senior national championships by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI). The headguard was made mandatory to avoid deep cuts to the face, said Varinder.
“Since I had used the headguard during practice, I was okay in the competition,” he added.
Despite the pandemic, the Railway’s international boxer has stayed focused.
In May at the Asian Boxing Championships in Dubai, Varinder won bronze in men’s 60kg category. It was the first time a Punjab boxer had won a medal at the continental level after a gap of 10 years. The previous medal had come in 2011, when Amandeep Singh clinched silver in the lightweight.
Buoyant by earning a berth in the national squad for worlds, Varinder is determined to further push himself hard in the national camp. It is set to start in the first week of October.
“We will have good sparring partners in the national camp. It will enable me to further polish my skills for the Worlds and enhance my chances of podium finish,” he added.
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