The 41-year-old former boxer, who won a gold medal at the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok and consequently inspired fellow Manipur-native MC Mary Kom to take up the sport, has been suffering from liver cancer.
Suffering a relapse and confined in his home in Imphal due to the coronavirus-induced nation-wide lockdown, Dingko Singh asked help from the Sports Ministry to travel to the national capital.
Not only did the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) come to his aid, but veteran boxers like Vijender Singh, Manoj Kumar and others also stepped in to offer financial help for the Arjuna and Padma Shri awardee.
“We have a WhatsApp group… Manoj posted about Dingko on it. We got his bank details and all of us have been chipping in with whatever we can manage," Vijender Singh told PTI.
The initiative, which started on Wednesday, has gathered around Rs 1 lakh with more money flowing in every day.
“Dingko is a hero, an icon for us. We had to come forward because every boxer deserves that his community comes to his aid at the hour of need," the professional boxer added.
The former Navy boxer was supposed to go to New Delhi for radiation therapy a fortnight back.
But the COVID-19 outbreak, which has made the capital a hotspot, did not allow it.
"I had booked tickets many times keeping in mind the lockdown period but it has extended, so tickets got cancelled," Dingko Singh explained to ANI.
This resulted in the BFI chief Ajay Singh, who is also the Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet, stepping up to help the boxer with the airlines’ air ambulance service.
He is to be flown to New Delhi on Saturday.
"It is indeed heartening to see the unity among the boxing fraternity for one of our champions," 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Akhil Kumar told the Times of India.
"Dingko has been a great ambassador to the sport and to see him battling a deadly disease like a true warrior speaks volumes of the fighting spirit he has," he pointed out.