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With Dingko Singh’s Magic Words Ringing In Her Ears, Elangbam Picks KIYG Silver

A prodigy of the famed boxing coach Leishangthem Ibomcha Singh, and then a trainee under late Asian Games medallist Dingko Singh, Manipur’s Elangbam Thoicha Devi had no inclination towards the sport before she met the duo. Elangbam started her career as a football player on the insistence of her father before a chance meeting with the boxing duo, made her fall for the combat sport in which she finds herself a late bloomer. “I started as a footballer as my father wanted to see me in the state team, but then I was always fascinated by individual sports, and when I saw other boxers being coached by Ibomcha sir and Dingko sir, I wanted to join them,” she said.

The 17-year-old, who currently trains at the SAI SAG Khuman Lampak stadium under W Hanbi Devi, said the magic words of Dingko keep ringing every time she steps into the ring, and derives the inspiration to never let the failures affect her focus on the sport.

“It was a close fight, the words of Dingko sir kept ringing in my mind, ‘never give up, target the weak areas of the opponent’.”

“They (Ibomcha and Dingko) have played a huge role in shaping my technique and the skills in the sport. Dingko sir has always been an inspiration to a generation of boxers but even for youngsters like us, he was always the ever approachable coach. He was a role model to me as well,” she added.

On Wednesday, Elangbam’s spirited challenge helped her return with a silver medal in the 48kg category of the women’s boxing competitions at the Khelo India Youth Games 2023, but claimed that she is proud of her efforts.

“My current coach has put in a lot of effort, and has been a strong force in motivating me every time I fail. The facilities at the campus are also decent enough, and it’s a second home for all trainees,” she said.

Elangbam went down to a 1-4 verdict against Chandigarh’s Parineeti Sheoran in the 48kg summit clash at the KIYG, but claimed that the second-place finish has boosted her confidence. 

“I have been unfortunate to miss out on many occasions after winning a gold medal in the inter-state competition in 2021. Most times, I would end up as a quarterfinalist, but when I came to Chennai for the KIYG, I had told myself, I want to win a gold here. I fell short but this will serve as a motivation in the times to come,” she said.

Born to a driver, who runs a commercial passenger vehicle, Elangbam is the youngest of the three siblings. While her eldest brother runs a chicken shop, her other brother is still studying. 

Acknowledging the financial hardships in the family, Elangbam said she doesn’t want to put much pressure on the family, and wants to curb her own way.

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