Former national boxing coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu has recommended two-time Commonwealth Games medal-winner Manoj Kumar's personal coach and elder brother Rajesh Kumar Rajound for this year's Dronacharya award. Being a former awardee himself, Sandhu is entitled to recommend names for the national sports awards.
The 37-year-old Rajound, an AIBA 2-star coach, has played a key role in shaping Olympian and Arjuna awardee Manoj's career. He also steered Kurukshetra University, where he is currently employed, to the top position in the Khelo India University Games' boxing competition.
"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," Sandhu stated in his letter to sports minister Kiren Rijiju.
Rajesh Kumar Rajound with Manoj Kumar (Source: राजेश कुमार राजौन्द/Facebook)
Manoj, who is also a former Asian Championships medallist, said his brother deserves the national recognition. "What I am today is all because of him. I had a lot of bad phases in my boxing career and it was his efforts that I was able to pull through...our relation is like guru-shishya. He is nothing less then Dronacharya for me," he said.
Rajound said he was grateful to Sandhu for the recommendation. "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," he said.
The national sports awards are given away on August 29 every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand. The Boxing Federation of India has nominated three coaches for the honour this year, including chief women's national coach Mohammed Ali Qamar.