Boxing is my identity: Vijender

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The reticent Bhiwani boxer says that he is rooted to the ground and the hype around him will never change him.

Updated: August 30, 2008 16:43 IST
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New Delhi:

Vijender Singh's life has taken a starry turn since he won the bronze medal in Beijing Olympics. With looks that can give top models a run for their money, Vijender is suddenly the new fascination of Indian media. The reticent Bhiwani boxer, though, says that he is rooted to the ground and the hype around him will never change him.

"I am still the same person what I was before winning the Olympic bronze. I will not allow myself to be affected by all the hype around me. My feet are on the ground," Vijender said Thursday.

The 22-year-old said that boxing will always be his top priority because it has given him name and fame.

"I can never allow my boxing to suffer because of endorsements and other things. These things are happening because I have been able to make a mark in my sport. Boxing is my identity and I will continue to grow as a boxer. Everything that comes with boxing is secondary to me," says Vijender, who was signed up with Bajaj Allianz as its 'Youth Icon' here.

Vijender, who had done some modelling before, hoped that the sport will be taken up in a big way by youngsters after the performance of Indian boxers at Olympics.

"Youngsters would be inspired after our performance and it will give a huge boost to the sport in the country."

Vijender said he can never forget his federation and coaches, who stood behind him in bad phase of his career.

"I was very upset after I failed to qualify for Olympics in US and Bangkok events. But the entire team, the coaches, and federation showed confidence in me. I could overcome that period only because of their support. Their contribution to my winning the bronze is as much as mine," he said.

Vijender said that he would like to take up endorsing products that cater to the youth.

When asked he had modelled for a shoot before while smoking cigarettes, Vijender said "I neither smoke nor drink. It was just a modelling assignment but I will not do such ads now because the youth of this country looks up to me."

Akshay Mehrotra, Marketing Head of Bajaj Allianz, said: "We had spotted him before when he defeated the Athens bronze medallist in the run-up to Olympics. Vijender matches our company ideology of hard work and perseverance. Boxing has appealed to the masses after the performance of India in Olympics and in coming years the sport will grow in India."

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