CHENNAI: The sword of uncertainty over participation in the Rio Olympics due to tussle in Boxing India is hanging over the boxers. Compounding their woes, they are largely being denied international exposure. For a talented pool that has been steadfast in Olympic preparation, things appear ominous.
Nevertheless, the showing of the seven-member squad in the recent Doha International Meet comes across as a silver lining.
With four gold, one silver and two bronze medals, the youngsters unleashed their fighting skills to clinch the team championship.
National coach GS Sandhu, who was ringside with the boxers, said he was pleasantly surprised by the fight his boxers put up.
“I’m quite elated with this performance, as we were not expecting this result. Winning the championship is a big boost for the boxers as this was the first foreign trip for us after a long gap,” Sandhu told Express.
One of the brightest prospects for India, Commonwealth Games silver medallist L Devendro Singh (49kg), put up a dominating show to clinch gold. Sandhu was cautious in his assessment about Devendro and pointed out that he was still not 100 per cent. “Devendro won all his bouts and managed to win gold. He was unstoppable but showed signs of tiredness. In the final round of the decider, he was a bit slow in the final minutes.”
While Devendro had no problems adjusting to conditions/opponents in Doha, Mandeep Jangra (69kg) and Vikas Krishnan (75kg) found the going tough and had to settle for bronze after losing out in their respective semifinals. “Mandeep and Vikas were not to their class and could not adjust to conditions there. They were not able box to their abilities,” Sandhu opined.
Mandeep is, however, content with his performance and is already looking forward to the Asian Championships — the first Olympic qualifiers — scheduled to be held in August. “It was a good experience, and I experimented a lot. I gave a good account of myself in the first bout. In the second, I gave my 100 per cent but unfortunately it was not enough. With this experience, I look forward to the wAsian Championships,” the Commonwealth Games silver-medallist asserted.
Sandhu, however, was highly impressed by youngster Manish Kaushik (60 kg). The 19-year-old showed lot of maturity to clinch gold. “Manish is a clever boxer. Nobody expected him to do so well. But he’s still very young and needs experience to maintain his performance,” he said.
Despite their praiseworthy performance, the boxers have no time to relax just yet. They resumed training at the SAI national camp in Patiala on Tuesday. With Rio in mind, the boxers have been following specific training programmes. However, Sandhu said his wards need more exposure trips to boost their skills.
“We’ve laid down our plans and already started working on it. But we’ve not been able to get training competitions and combined training programmes. Out prime target is to do well in the first qualifiers. I hope our plans don’t get disrupted and the boxers can get the exposure trips to strengthen their skills. The boxers have also applied for individual training programmes abroad. They’ve already committed their plans,” Sandhu said.
Devendro Singh (49kg) | Gold
Shiva Thapa (56kg) | Gold
Manoj Kumar (64kg)| Gold
Manish Kaushik (60kg)| Gold
Gaurav Bidhuri (52kg) | Silver
Mandeep Jangra (69kg) | Bronze
Vikas Krishnan (75kg) | Bronze
The boxers’ next major assignment is the 2015 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships — continental qualifier — scheduled to be held in August.