New Delhi: Former India boxing coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu has recommended the name of Kurukshetra University's boxing coach Rajesh Kumar, who is the personal coach of Olympian and Arjuna awarde Manoj Kumar, for the country's biggest coaching honour Dronacharya Award for the year 2019-20.
Rajesh is in the coaching profession since the last 20 years and is credited for shaping his younger brother Manoj's career. Manoj has competed in two Olympics (2012 and 2016) and has won two Commonwealth Games medals --- gold in 2010 and bronze in 2018. Apart from Manoj, he has produced number of international and national medalist boxers, including Sahdev Hooda, Preeti, Neel Kamal, Jitendra, Mukesh, Neeraj, Ashok and Rajendra.
Rajesh was also the coach of the Haryana women’s team that won the overall title in the 2016 National Boxing Championship. Under his coaching, the Haryana girls created record for winning 10 medals in as many weight categories in the national meet.
Being coach of the Kurukshetra University, his team won first position in the Khelo India University Games and won All-India Inter-University title thrice. Since 2015, when he joined the Kurukshetra University, his trainees have won 27 gold, 20 silver and 21 bronze medals in the All-India university meets.
Being a Dronacharya awardee himself, Sandhu can recommend name of one coach for the prestigious coaching honour.
In his recommendation to the sports ministry, Sandhu, who was the national coach when Vijender Singh won the country’s first Olympic medal in 2008 Beijing Games, has also highlighted that Rajesh is an International AIBA 2 Star Coach and is the only coach from India to represent the British Franchise ‘The British Lion Hearts’ boxing team in the 2017 World Boxing Series.
“I understand that the achievements of Rajesh Kumar as a boxing coach are more than enough to recommend him for the prestigious Dronacharya award in the category of boxing coach,” stated Sandhu in his letter to the union sports minister Kiren Rijiju recommending Rajesh for the coaching award.
Showing gratitude towards former national coach Sandhu for his recommendation to the Dronacharya award in the lifetime category, Rajesh said, “It is a great honour for me that a coach like Sandhu sir found my credentials worthy enough to be recommended for the Dronacharya award. I have learnt a lot from him and he is the one who has changed the Indian boxing.”
On Rajesh’s contribution in shaping his career, Olympian Manoj Kumar said, “What I am today is all because of him. I had a lot of bad phases in my boxing career and it was his (referring to Rajesh) efforts that I was able to pull through. Though he is my elder brother, our relation is like guru shishya. He is nothing less than Dronacharya for me.”