CHENNAI: 250 days! That is how far (close) Rio Olympics is. With the mega event on the horizon, Indian boxers will get a first-ever opportunity to get a blueprint of the venue during the test event in Rio de Janeiro from December 4.
Seven Indian boxers, invited by Rio organising committee and International Boxing Association (AIBA), will look to grab the opportunity with both hands and return with vital experience.
National chief coach GS Sandhu, who will be in the ringside with the seven, is delighted. “I never recall Indian boxers going to Brazil for any event in my long association with the sport. It will be a first for our boxers.”
“This is a great opportunity. We will get to know the facilities and conditions there. This trip will be a valuable experience for the pugilists. We visited Doha for a testing event for the World Championships and later when we went there it really helped. We knew the place and the facilities,” he said.
One among the seven is London Olympics bronze medallist MC Mary Kom. The poster girl in Indian boxing has already announced that she will hang up her gloves after Rio. And she will look to make it memorable as well. So, this trip will clearly give her a big boost. Manoj Kumar, Rohit Tokas, Devandhu Jaiswal, Parveen Kumar, Satish Kumar and Karkara Shyamkumar are the other boxers in fray.
Sarita & Co Set for China Sojourn
Boxing ace L Sarita Devi will trade blows in competitive circuit for the first time after serving her one-year suspension during a training-cum-competition event in the Chinese city of Qian’an, starting on Tuesday.
The Manipuri pugilist will be part of a 13-strong Indian team (10 men and three women) for the 10-day event, which also includes boxers from China, Thailand, Mongolia and Korea. “This trip will help the boxers acclimatise to conditions there and get a good understanding of rivals ahead of next year’s crucial qualifiers,” informed Sandhu.
Pinki Jangra (51kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) complete the women’s team. “I’m sure the boxers will also gain valuable skills and confidence from this trip.”
Men: L Devendro Singh (49kg), Gaurav Bidhuri (52kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Manish Kaushik (60kg), Thomas Maitei (64kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg), Vikas Krishan (75kg), Kuldeep Singh (81kg), Amritpreet Singh (91kg) and Narender (+91kg).
Women: Pinki Jangra (51kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg), Pooja Rani (75kg).