GLASGOW: The cameras are mounted. The scoreboards have been tested. All technicalities have been covered for one of the greatest sports in the planet – boxing. A sport where class, creed, rich, poor, race don’t matter. This sport is always with a punch-line.
For India, it is sport that has landed the country a spate of medals. This is a sport where the country started dominating. It’s a sport where the pugilists gained respect from the world. However, a ban on the Indian Boxing Federation suddenly plummeted the sport into a minor crisis. No nationals for a couple of years. No exposure trips. No international sparring except for one or two odd International Boxing association (AIBA) recognised matches.
“We need exposure trips but couldn’t but there’s no point talking about it right now,” said India’s national chief coach GS Sandhu on the day when the draw was made. “We will open our campaign on Friday with bouts.”
The draw, it seems, holds mixed luck. “We can’t say it is tough but it is not easy either,” said Sandhu. “We have to play the host boxers before the final in some weight categories. Those will be crucial ones.”
The minor hiccup that the coaches would not be allowed beside the ring has been resolved, too. At least, here’s something to smile about. “We were officially told there’s no problem. So (CA) Kutappa, Jaydev Bisht and I will be there to assist the boxers,” he said.
So Parveen Kumar will take on host boxer Anderson Ross in the 91-plus category while Mandeep Jhangra will square off with Augusto Mathule of Mozambique (69kg). Vijender Singh, the Beijing Olympic bronze medallist, will step into the ring on Saturday.