Buffeted by injuries, ‘Best Boxer’ now wants to shine as coach

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KOLKATA: After his dream to represent Olympics shattered because of a spate of injuries and illnesses, the ‘Best Boxer’ of the Manchester Commonwealth Games 2002, Som Bahadur Pun, now wants to make a mark as a coach.

Having spent years in wilderness after failing to make a comeback, Pun finally gave up his boxing gloves in 2008 after the World Military Boxing Championship in Azerbaijan.

All hell broke loose for him when he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder that meant he had to quit the boxing ring at a time when the sport registered a stupendous popularity following Vijender Singh’s Olympic success.

“The disease demanded regular treatment and it was not possible for me to make a comeback again. My world came to an end. It happened at a time when boxing as a sport started to rise. I’m really unfortunate,” the 2002 silver medallist said in a choked voice.

“I could have peaked after Commonwealth Games, but I had tuberculosis in 2004 and it was very difficult to stage a fightback again. Still I made it to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006, but I had jaundice in 2008 that made me very weak,” said the Services boxer, adding that in between he was also diagnosed with the neurological disorder.

However, the idea of coaching came to his mind after he was offered an assignment with the senior team of Arunachal Pradesh in the National championship in Delhi this year.

“It’s a new thing and has its own challenges. I’m loving it. I plan to do a certified course from NIS next year to become a qualified coach,” Pun, who is here in the city as Tripura coach in the sub-junior national, said.

Pun has already gained some success as a coach when under his tutelage Arunachal Pradesh boxers claimed two bronze medals at senior nationals in Delhi this year.

The 29-year-old said that boxing in India has improved vastly and the boxers should earn at least three to four medals in London Olympics 2012.

“After the achievement in Olympics, boxers suddenly grabbed the limelight. The scenario improved with sponsors coming in. We struggled during our time. There would not be any sponsor, less exposure trips, so we really had to work hard.

“I don’t want to name anybody but we have many promising boxers in the country. They are confident and I’m sure they should get about three to four Olympic medals after two years,” Pun said.

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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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