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Dingko Singh, Indian boxer and Asian gold medal winner, dies of cancer

The Manipur-based former boxer endured a long battle with cancer and even fought COVID-19 last year.

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Dingko Singh, Indian boxer and Asian gold medal winner, dies of cancer
Dingko Singh, Indian boxer and Asain gold medal winner, dies of cancer
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Former Indian boxer Dingko Singh, who won the Asian Games gold medal died on Thursday after a long battle with liver cancer. He was 42-years-old and had been fighting cancer since 2017. He is survived by his wife Babai Ngangom, a son, and a daughter.

"I'm deeply saddened by the demise of Shri Dingko Singh. One of the finest boxers India has ever produced, Dinko’s gold medal at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games sparked the Boxing chain reaction in India. I extend my sincere condolences to the bereaved family. RIP Dinko," Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted. 

The Manipur-based former boxer endured a long battle with cancer and even fought COVID-19 last year.

Dingko's gold in the Bangkok Asiad was the first in 16 years for Indian boxing after Kaur Singh's top finish at the regional showpiece in the 1982 edition.

"My sincerest condolences on this loss May his life’s journey & struggle forever remain a source of inspiration for the upcoming generations. I pray that the bereaved family finds the strength to overcome this period of grief & mourning #dinkosingh," tweeted India's first Olympic-medallist in boxing Vijender Singh.

Dingko Singh had won his maiden national title (sub-junior) as a 10-year-old and was among the first modern stars of Indian boxing with his Asian Games gold. He had inspired the likes of six-time world champion MC Mary Kom among others.

The Manipuri superstar had beat two Olympic medallists - Sontaya Wongprates of Thailand and Timur Tulyakov of Uzbekistan - en route to the Asian Games gold medal in Bangkok.

Ironically, he wasn't even the original pick for the Games. He made the cut after registering his protest by "threatening to commit suicide". He was eventually picked and he justified his presence. 

Dingko was bestowed with the Arjuna award the same year he won the medal of his career. In 2013, he was honoured with the Padma Shri for his contribution to the sport.

He was also an Olympian and had represented India in the 2000 Sydney Games. He could not progress beyond the pre-quarters.

He was even an employee of the Indian Navy and had taken to coaching at Imphal's Sports Authority of India Centre after hanging up his gloves.

However, illnesses came in the way of his progress and he was made to stay at home in the latter part of his life. He was airlifted to Delhi last year after it was known that the lockdown had prevented him from getting crucial radiation therapy for his cancer.

Upon landing in Delhi, a bout of jaundice did not allow for the therapy to be carried out. He went back to Imphal and contracted COVID-19 on reaching back home. He went on to spend a month in hospital to recover from the infection.

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