CHENNAI: In a big boost for elite boxers from the country, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has sanctioned Europe tour for training and competition for a period of 52 days from October to December.
As reported by this daily in early September, the boxers will be heading to Assisi (Italy) for training and they'll be taking part in two competitions in France and Poland. The said competitions are Alexis Vastine International Boxing Tournament (October 27-31) and Leszek Drogosz Memorial (November 2-7).
The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said that visa formalities are being sorted and the team is expected to leave by October 15. The government has sanctioned an estimated sum of Rs 1.31 crores for the trip. A total of 16 boxers (10 men and six women), along with coaches and support staff, will be boarding flight to Italy.
However, London Olympics bronze medallist MC Mary Kom, who's recovering from an illness, won't be part of the tour. World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik, who's yet to recover from an
injury (bicep), will also miss the trip.
This development is a big boost for boxers/coaches who had been eager for training in a fresh environment. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, boxers have been training under strict SAI protocol at NIS, Patiala.
Move to Italy could bring some form of relaxation in their training and help them add more to their locker. Moreover, coaches have been stressing about the need for competitive action for some time. If things go as per plan, those aforementioned competitions could help the boxers and coaches gauge what they have learnt in the last few months and draw plans for the future.
National men's chief coach CA Kuttappa, who'll be travelling with the team, is a pleased man and said that they'll look to make the most of this opportunity. "We'll get sparring partners and some competition too. We'll have a lot to learn and prepare for Olympics," Kuttappa said.
Women's high performance director Raffaele Bergamasco, who had left for Assisi (his hometown) in June, is expected to join the team. "I'm glad to hear the development. I shall join the team then...it will be an excellent environment to evaluate the boxers' performance and figure out what they need to work on
with future competitions in mind," Bergamasco noted.
Amit Panghal, who has been one of the standouts for the last few years, is also looking forward too. "It's a big opportunity for us. We'll get to box with other boxers and learn," the 2019 World Championships silver medallist said.
Amit & Co. will be joined by high performance director Santiago Nieva in Assisi. Nieva is currently at home in Stockholm (Sweden).
Men: Amit (52 kg), Gaurav Solanki (57 kg), Kavinder Singh Bisht (57 kg), Mohammad Hussamuddin (57 kg), Shiva Thapa (63 kg), Ashish Kumar (63 kg), Brijesh Yadav (75 kg), Sumit Sangwan (81 kg), Sumit Sangwan (81 kg), Satish Kumar (+91 kg).
Women: Sakshi (57 kg), Manisha (57 kg), Sonia Lather (57 kg), Simranjit Kaur (60 kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg), Pooja Rani (75 kg).