Olympian boxer Jitender Kumar recommended for Arjuna award
Beijing Olympics quarterfinalist Jitender Kumar and former women's world champion Lekha K C are among the three pugilists recommended by the Indian Boxing Federation for this year's Arjuna awards.
N Usha is the third boxer recommended by the IBF for the awards which would be given away on the August 29 -- the National Sports Day.
While Lekha clinched the middle weight gold in the 2006 edition of the World Championship held here, Usha has been a two-time silver medallist in the same event.
"All three of them have performed well in the past three years and we thought they are the best contenders from boxing for the Arjuna award," Indian Boxing Federation Director A S Dagar said.
Both Lekha and Usha had been recommended last year as well but Jitender 's name has been nominated for the first time.
"It is a huge honour for me to be recommended for this award. I hope I get it," said Jitender, a two-time Asian Championship bronze medallist, who created quite a flutter at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by fighting his quarterfinal bout with 10 stitches on his chin.
The 22-year-old Harayana boxer was also a bronze medallist in the 2008 World Cup held just a few months after the Olympics.
He was recently signed up by the World Series of Boxing's Indian Franchise Videocon for the professional-style tourney starting November 19.
Jitender first came into limelight by winning the bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. He competed in the fly weight 51kg division at that time but has now jumped to the bantam weight 56 kg division.
Part of the core group preparing for this year's Commonwealth Games, Jitender is currently training in Patiala and recently underwent a minor surgery on his injured jaw.
IBF has also recommended the names of three coaches -- Shiv Singh, G Manoharan and I Venkateshwara Rao -- for the Dronacharya awards.
While Singh is currently in the coaching staff of senior men's team, Manoharan has been grooming boxers at the youth level. Rao has been coaching the Indian women boxers.
Boxing, a fast-emerging sport in the cricket-obsessed country, got its first ever Khel Ratna awardees last year through Olympic and World Championship bronze medallist Vijender Singh and four-time women's world champion M C Mary Kom, who shared the honour with wrestler Sushil Kumar.