Raging Bull to Million Dollar Boy
- Spot-fixing: Petition in SC seeks stay on IPL matches, demands SIT probe
- India, China call for end to incursion issue, sign 8 deals to boost ties
- Sanjay Dutt spends restless nights as officials yet to decide on his jail
- Aarushi murder case: Rajesh Talwar claims he was asleep when killings took place
- Yahoo! says will acquire Tumblr for $1.1 bn, eyes billion visitors mark
The Beijing bronze medal didn't change Vijender Singh's life just inside the ring. As one of India's most decorated Olympians faces a drug taint, Mihir Vasavda traces the makeover of Bhiwani's "Viju" to 'India's David Beckham'
A Palatial house stands out in the sleepy, nondescript village Kaluwas, some 5 km from Bhiwani. A group of elderly people is playing cards, the only activity in an area surrounded by barren land. Over the last five years, hundreds have gathered around this house, celebrating each of Vijender Singh's wins.
They have every reason to celebrate; he is one of their own, after all. But today as Vijender prepares for the toughest bout of his life, the place wears a deserted look. The sense of disbelief is apparent.
Sandeep Singh, who owns a general store opposite Vijender's house, recalls the days when the boxer, as a kid, used to "steal" biscuits from his shop. "He was a mischievous kid... full of energy," he says, beaming with pride. "Par pind de munde nu sheher di hawa lag gayi, bhaisaab (the small village boy was spoilt by the big city). We'll pray for him."
Prayer is on everyone's lips here. At a time when athletes' bad behaviour—gambling, using drugs etc—hardly stands out, the revelations of a certain Anoop Singh Kahlon have put the legacy of one of India's most decorated Olympians in danger. Vijender is accused of consuming heroin and worse, consorting with drug peddlers.
What intrigues the locals, though, is how someone like Vijender who, they say, is rather shrewd, reserved and ambitious, landed himself in this mess. Mother Krishna Devi weeps inconsolably. "We are ashamed even to go out of the house. The entire family has suffered a lot since this news," she says. "Viju is a strong boy. We are sure he is innocent. He dreams big and is ambitious... but he is not a fool and knows the difference between right and wrong."
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held
- Rajasthan Royals to file FIR against tainted trio
- If found guilty, BCCI to ask ICC to erase Sreesanth records
- Top cops among 42 named in death of blast accused
- Manmohan-Li talks: PM takes tough line on incursion issue
- Security forces blame Maoists, villagers say CoBRA man was killed in 'friendly fire'