Asian Games gold medallist boxer Ngangom Dingko Singh passed away after prolonged illness at his residence at Sekta village in Manipur’s Imphal East district on Thursday morning,family sources said. The 42-year-old had fought Covid last year and also liver cancer for many years. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Manipur chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh condoled Dingko’s death and tweeted, “I’m shocked and deeply saddened by the demise of Shri N Dingko Singh earlier in the morning today. A Padma Shri awardee, Dingko Singh was one of the most outstanding boxers Manipur has ever produced. My sincere condolences to the bereaved family.May his soul rest in peace.”
Hockey India’s president Gyanendro Ningombam who hailed from Manipur also condoled the sudden death of the boxing legend. In a Facebook post, Gyanendro wrote,”We are shocked and deeply saddened by the demise of Ng. Dingko Singh early in the morning today. Legend boxer won gold medal at 1998 Asian Games Bangkok. He has been conferred country’s prestigious award- Padma Shri in 2013. He holds Arjuna Award also. His untimely demise saddened the entire Sports fraternity. Om Shanti.”
Dingko became a national hero and a household name in Manipur when he returned with a gold medal in bantamweight from Bangkok Asian Games in Thailand in 1998, India’s first boxing medal at the Games in 16 years. He had also won the King’s cup in Bangkok a year ago, in 1997.
That Asiad gold inspired another fiery boxer to take up the sport – the six-time world champion and Olympic medallist MC Mary Kom. Acknowledging his achievement, then Manipur government even named the busy Chingmeirong Khongnang-ani karak to Lamlong Bridge in Imphal as Dingko Road.
He was conferred the Arjuna Award in 1998 in recognition of his achievement. He also got the prestigioius Padma Shri Award, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 2013.
The boxer was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2016. He underwent a 14-hour surgery at Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Delhi in January, 2017. Since then, he was on an annual treatment cycle. The prominent boxer was a Sports Authority of India coach in Imphal. Earlier, he had also served as a navy personnel.