The 2018 Junior Nationals silver medalist and 2018 Khelo India Youth Games bronze medalist Punjab boxer 20-year-old Kuldeep Singh died allegedly of drug overdose at his hometown Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district in Punjab on Wednesday evening. The boxer was found unconscious on Rama road in the town and was pronounced dead when he was taken to a local hospital. The family of the boxer alleged that some village youths had forcibly taken Kuldeep Singh on Wednesday afternoon and that the locals later informed them about him lying unconscious on the road.
“Sada tan boxer putt sanu chad gaya. Without tan competition jana siga agle mahine (Our boxer son has left us. He was supposed to compete in a competition next month). Some local youth took him by force along with him after his college classes and we were informed later that he was found unconscious. Later, when we reached the hospital, doctors told us that he had died of drug overdose. He was given injections by the local youth and we are hopeful that the postmortem report will clear things,” said Kuldeep’s elder brother Mela Singh, who runs a salon in the town.
“We have filed a FIR number 135 and under IPC 304 against six youth, who made Kuldeep take drugs,” the Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police (ASI) Dhararmvir Singh told The Indian Express.
Third youngest of four siblings, Singh had started boxing at the age of 8 at the Baba Ajit Singh Boxing Welfare Club, Talwandi Sabo under the coach Hardeep Singh. The youngster first won the title in the school nationals at Dehradun in 2017 before repeating the feat next year in Guwahati. The same year, Singh would win a silver medal in the BFI Junior National Boxing Championship held at Mohali apart from a bronze medal in the Khelo India Games at New Delhi. He would be selected to train at the Punjab Institute of Sports (PIS) Mohali post his feat.
The youngster had been training at Mohali before shifting his base back to Talwandi Sabo three months ago. “Kuldeep had started the sport after he saw a local youngster boxing and would come with his father to train. He would never miss any training session and was very happy when he won the silver in junior nationals and with his selection in PIS,” said the coach Hardeep Singh.
The coach too laid the same allegation as the family about some bad elements in the village.
“He was approached by the same set of youth and was given doses of heroin (Chitta) by them. He had to be admitted to a local hospital. Post that, he had started training again with me and would come for practice daily. Yesterday, he was taken by the same set of youths and when we saw his dead body, we saw more than 50 syringe marks. He did not have any syringe marks earlier; how is it possible that it can be done by him?,” said the coach Hardeep Singh.
ASI Dharamvir Singh, who is investigating the case, said Talwandi Sabo Police has filed an FIR against six people. “Kuldeep Singh had been admitted to a local hospital two and half months ago and was released after treatment for drugs. Yesterday, he went with some youth to the Rama road near the city and we got a call from locals that a body was found. We sent an unconscious Kuldeep to the local hospital and doctors declared him dead at 8.10 pm. Postmortem was conducted today and the report will come later,” the ASI said.