CHENNAI: Indian women boxers came up with a perfect score in the Cologne World Cup. All five of them won medals (2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze) in their respective weight categories in Germany. Chief coach Raffaele Bergamasco is pleased with the show and feels they have yet not reached their optimum level yet.
"It's a good show, especially after such a long break caused by the pandemic," the Italian told this daily from Cologne. "I will say they have reached 70 per cent of their optimum level. From here, they will only improve. It's a good thing, as there is still time for the Olympics. A few more overseas training camps and events will help them reach their best."
The Indian team, including men boxers, won nine medals to finish second behind Germany in the standings. The three gold medals were bagged by Amit Panghal (men's 52kg), Manisha Moun (women's 57kg) and Simranjit Kaur (women's 60kg). The boxers returned to India on Sunday night. High-performance director Santiago Nieva and Bergamasco will return in the first week of January.
"The boxers will leave for their homes after reaching India. Santiago and I will be back after Christmas break. As I was told, the national camp will resume either on January 3 or 4 but the venue has not been finalised yet. The federation has come up with a couple of options as far as the venue is concerned. It will be decided soon," informed Bergamasco.
The tournament brought an end to the Indian team's 67-day training-cum-competition tour of Europe. Earlier, they took part in the Alexis Vastine international tournament in Nantes, France, in October, and won three gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
"Alexis Vastine was their first competitive event and since then they trained hard in Italy. They got good sparring partners and it reflected in their performance in the World Cup. The way Simranjit and Manisha competed, it showed they have improved a lot," the chief coach said. Simranjit defeated local favourite Maya Kleinhans in the final, while Manisha beat compatriot Sakshi Choudhary.
Bergamasco thinks the trip has worked well for the boxers and hopes they will get more such trips ahead of the Tokyo Games.
"Despite the lockdown, these boxers never let their guard down. They continued with their training in India. The exposure trip only helped them get better. There are a couple of invitations for the team. We will discuss it with AIBA and SAI. Once approved, the boxers can train overseas again," signed off Bergamasco. As many as nine Indian boxers have qualified for the Olympics. Four more spots — three men's and one women's — will be up for grabs at the Olympic qualifiers in 2021.
- Gold: Amit Panghal (52kg), Manisha Moun (57kg) and Simranjit Kaur (60kg).
- Silver: Satish Kumar (+91kg), Sakshi Choudhary (57kg).
- Bronze: Sonia Lather (57kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Gaurav Solanki (57kg), Mohamed Hussamudin (57kg).