Nondescript Kaluwas village basks in Vijender glory

BHIWANI: Shot into international sporting map after Vijender Kumar assured the country of an Olympic medal, the residents of Kaluwas village in Bhiwani district want nothing less than a gold from their history-creating son of the soil.

Vijender has now assured the country of an Olympic medal after reaching the semifinals of the 75kg category boxing event in Beijing Olympics, and celebrations, which began last evening, continued on Thursday with the boxer's house becoming the centre of activity in the village.

A large tent had been put up in front of Vijender's house to entertain fans, guests, budding boxers and family's relatives who were pouring in large numbers since yesterday.

A proud father, Mahipal Singh Beniwal, an employee in Haryana Roadways, basked in the glory of his son and greeted the visitors.

"I talked to Vijender and he told me that he will return with a gold medal. He is quite confident that he will defeat his Cuban opponent in tomorrow's bout," Beniwal said.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was catching the action live on TV in Chandigarh on Wednesday, could not help but jump in joy after Vijender's feat.

He later called up Vijender's father to congratulate him and informed him the state government's decision to set up a boxing academy at Bhiwani.

Even though Kaluwas village has suddenly shot into fame, but traditional 'Haryanvi' flavour is still visible here. As Mahipal has been busy since Wednesday handling a battery of mediapersons who are camping here, a group of men in their 60s can be seen occupying a cot and smoking a 'hookah'.

The hot topic of discussion is that Vijender has put their village on the international map.

Vijender's mother Krishna Beniwal is a busy woman greeting the people and serving them tea.

One can also spot group of young men in the village and main town going round in vehicles and some marching on foot holding aloft the Indian tri-colour.

Vijender's grandfather, Darayo Singh, who retired from the Army, is a proud man and said he has not seen so many Indian flags in his village.

Darayo, who retired as Subedar and speaks English fluently, receives visitors and speaks about Vijender's achievement with great pride.

"Vijender's achievement will give a big boost to boxing now and make it more popular than cricket," Darayo insists.

Meanwhile, budding boxers at the Bhiwani Boxing Club, run and managed by SAI coach Jagdish Singh, who also coached Vijender, Jitender and Akhil Kumar, are already talking about how this sport has suddenly become youngsters' favourite.

Analysing Vijender's bout yesterday, some even talk about Bollywood star Sunny Deol's famous dialogue in film 'Damini' where the actor talked about his "dayee kilo ka haath (powerful punch)" and how their boxing hero had prevailed over his opponent in Beijing on Wednesday.

Even as young boxers are training hard at the Club, one cannot miss a graffiti on the wall which read "no pain no gain... if you don't bleed you don't suceed". This graffiti and many more inspirational stuff are written all over the walls of the Club.