India boxing coaches search for fresh talent to boost men’s squad

Indian boxers returned from the Asian Games after winning four berths for the Paris Olympics – all sealed by the women boxers. The men’s performance, however, has come under scrutiny as they failed to win a single quota place in Hangzhou.

In 51kg, Tokyo Olympians Amit Panghal and Deepak Bhoria are India’s best for a long time. (PTI)

Of the seven boxers, only three made it to the quarterfinals with Narender Berwal (+92kg) progressing to the semifinals, where he lost to Kazakhstan’s Kamshybek Kunkabayev and finished with bronze. With the next opportunity to qualify for the Paris Olympics at the World Qualifying Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy from February 29, the coaching think tank is looking to look for fresh talent from the national championships in Shillong later this month.

“The national camp will be called to prepare for the qualification competition after the national championships and we will be looking for new talents in some of the weight categories,” said a coach who knows things.

Only world championship medalists – Deepak Bhoria, Nishant Dev and Mohammad Hussamuddin (he missed the Asian Games due to a knee injury) – can get a direct call to the national camp provided the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) gives them an exemption , accepting it. including their performances. The rest of the current national champions – three boxers from seven Olympic weight categories – will have to compete at nationals. Coaches are also keeping a close eye on the medal winners from the world youth championships. India won two golds – Vishvanath Suresh (48kg), Vanshaj (63.5kg) and a silver – Ashish (54kg) – in the event.

The lower weight categories are India’s strength but the performance of the current draw has not been satisfactory. In 51kg, Tokyo Olympian Amit Panghal and Deepak Bhoria have been India’s best for a long time. Deepak (51kg), who was picked ahead of Panghal, lost a close second round to world champion Tomoya Tsuboi of Japan. In 57kg, Sachin Siwach got the nod absent CWG and world medalist Hussamuddin. Hussamuddin, who underwent knee surgery in June, has started training but will miss the national championships as he could not compete in the state trials. Although his progress will be closely monitored, coaches need a strong second boxer in the weight class. Similarly in 63.5kg, seasoned Shiva Thapa has been inconsistent and 2019 world bronze medalist Manish Kaushik is nowhere near his best. Other weight classes — 71kg, 80kg, 92kg, +92kg — will probably also be rejig. “We were hoping for a quota place or two from the men’s team but that didn’t happen. There are some strong teams in Asia. The BFI will soon decide on exemptions and selection criteria in the national camp,” said a BFI official.

High Performance Manager Bernard Dunne’s new selection policy of weekly assessment of boxers instead of trials has been criticized and boxers have even knocked on the court doors. The BFI has backed Dunne despite some opposition to the selection policy.

While the men’s team performed below par, the women’s team is producing good results with four of them becoming world champions at home and four boxers, including two-time world champion Nikhat Zareen and Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain getting places for the Paris Olympics. .

“The trials are still the best way to select a team and it keeps the boxers on their toes. The BFI should have at least five to six boxers in the camp, which was the norm earlier. You need variety in sparring,” said a member of the selection panel.

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