Big guns opt out - The New Indian Express

Big guns opt out

Published: 30th October 2012 08:50 AM

Last Updated: 30th October 2012 08:50 AM

The 59th Senior National Boxing Championship, to begin at Lal Bahadur Stadium from Tuesday, will be sans sparkle. The Olympic pugilists, except Sumit Sangwan, will be missing in action.

But other big names like Vijender Singh, Akhil Kumar, Suranjoy Singh, Vikas Kishan, Devendro Singh and Shiva Thapa are skipping the event. This being the first nationals after the Olympics, many of the pugilists have decided to opt out for various reasons.

However, for the boxers on the fringe of national recognition, this will be a huge opportunity to make their mark. The decision of the top boxers to ignore the nationals has not gone well with few former pugilists. V Devarajan, the 1994 World Cup bronze medallist, said the top boxers should have competed in this national meet.

“I always feel that participating in national meets is a great opportunity for any boxer. For a young boxer to fight against big names would boost his morale and career. But unfortunately, the big names will not make it to the meet. It is a sad development,” said Devarajan.

Devarajan was more surprised with some young pugilists like Suranjoy, Devendro or Shiva Thapa opting out of the meet. “They are young and they should have taken part so that it could have given them a good exposure,” he said. However, their absence could see some new talent coming up. “We have some exciting talent in the light weight categories. Some of these young boxers in these categories have performed well in international meets,” he said.

There was disappointment after India returned empty-handed in the men’s section, failing to win a single medal in the London Olympics. Mary Kom saved the blushes by winning a bronze in the women’s section.

“We had expected at least two medals but we were done in by the scoring system. This is the right time when the pugilists are told about the new scoring system. It is important to collect points with intelligent boxing,” Devarajan said.

Even as Hyderabad is gearing up for the national championship, there is a tinge of sadness that boxing talent from South is not being encouraged. State labour minister Danam Nagender, who is also the president of AP Boxing Association, has been critical of the policies of the Indian federation. He clearly said good talent from South is being ignored. “This is unfair,” he said.

This sport after Vijender Singh and Mary Kom’s feats in successive Olympics at Beijing and London and some good performances in Worlds and Asian Games has seen India developing into a force to reckon with.

The federation has also made a few significant steps to promote the sport. However, sadly boxing talent has basically come from two States of Haryana and Manipur. States like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, who had produced good pugilists, have been lagging behind for various reasons of  late. Services and Railways have always dominated the national championship with the former winning team title for 50 times.

However, the last five years has seen Railways taking the honours. Coach Chiranjeevi said the state association has made all the arrangements for an exciting national championship.

Tamil Nadu have reportedly sent two teams for the championship.

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