India's top boxer Vijender Singh, who won a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Games, said he has got used to the pressure of expectations and hoped to book his London berth in the forthcoming Asia Olympic qualifying tournament starting from Wednesday in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Vijender, a middleweight boxer (75kg), said on Monday that he has always been under pressure right after winning the Olympic bronze medal four years ago and it has always helped him to bring out his best.
"I have always been under pressure ever since I won the bronze medal in the Beijing Olympics. It is nothing new for me. It's there before I leave for any tournament," said Vijender on the eve of team's departure for the qualifying tournament.
Vijender, a former World No.1, along with Suranjoy Singh (52kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Sumit Sangwan (81kg), Manpreet Singh (91kg) and Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) trained at the Karnail Singh Stadium here early morning before leaving for Astana.
Vijender made a first round exit from last year's World Championship, also a qualifying event. This time the stakes are high as Astana offers the Indian boxers the last chance to qualify for Olympics.
"There was pressure when I didn't get a gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. I went on to get a gold medal in the Asian Games but that hasn't lessened the pressure. All I can say is that I have become mentally better prepared to deal with it since Beijing," said Vijender.
Vijender said the situation he faces before London is very similar to what he had come up before Beijing.
"It's the same situation that I faced before the Beijing Games. I had lost in two attempts and was left with just one chance. At that time, there were just two slots available and I went on to win the gold. This time, there are four slots in my category. So, I have a better chance. I just have to make the semi-finals," he said.
Vijender also hoped god would be kind with him.
"I have to give my 100 per cent in the ring and that I will do, but the rest of it is in God's hands. So hopefully he will be kind to me," he said.
Vijender said he prefers to train at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala than going abroad for preparatory camps.
"I feel comfortable training in Patiala. The facilities here are better. And if I get injured I would also recover quickly here at home instead of a foreign land," he said.
Vijender said young boxers should get a chance on exposure trips while experienced boxers like him should be allowed to train at home.
"There are youngsters coming up and it is important that they also get exposure. So, if guys like me decide to skip foreign tours, the younger lot gets the chance to go out which is good for the future," he said.