There is a new, young brigade shaping up in boxing for the 2016 Rio Games. And, given the middle-class backgrounds India's young guns - Shiva Thapa, Devendro Singh, Vikas Krishan and Sumit Sangwan - come from, it's a story that should inspire a generation to take up the sport.
The performance of India's 20-year-olds at the London Games leaves one with a sense of satisfaction that come 2016, our pugilists will be aiming for a bigger catch, provided injuries don't spoil their charge.
START RIGHT AWAY
"We should start immediately as time has already been wasted," warns Akhil Kumar, the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist. Though he feels India were unlucky not to have won a medal in the men's section, he says disappointments should be an inspiration to move forward.
Even 1998 Asian Games gold-medallist, Dingko Singh - who inspired MC Mary Kom to take up the sport - feels India should start right away. "We need to find out where we went wrong and start planning immediately."
CHANGE THE SYSTEM
Both the Olympians feel that the Indian boxing federation should bring in changes in the coaching system also. "We need to have new coaches and there should be one coach for every four boxers," feels Akhil. "The game is changing fast. The scoring system is different. Every weight category needs a different training regimen. Every weight category needs different recovery plans."
Dingko feels that apart from coaches, good physios and recovery experts are crucial. "One can't expect a coach or a trainer to double up as a masseur," he says.
He feels the boxers must go on frequent exposure trips. "They have learnt their trade, all they need is confidence and good analytical feedback from the support staff. So, they must compete at the highest level more often." Akhil concurs and adds it's time for India to aim for the next level. "We have been dominating the Commonwealth and doing well in Asia, but we must take our game to the next level. Maybe, we should increase the pool of national boxers to 50 or 60. We should also have a talent-hunt programme every three-four months."
The Beijing Games bronze medallist feels that there is no problem in terms of training. "What we should see where we can introduce changes and where we should follow the same regimen. The scoring system, we could have won at least one medal," he said.
What India's young pugilists need to do between now and 2016 to improve their prospects in Rio
Proper recovery plan They have a bout almost every day in the preliminary stage and every two days in the quarters and subsequent stages. Hence, they need good masseurs and recovery experts.
What the boxers get from the SAI are the same supplements given to sportspersons of different discipline. A boxer's requirement is different from a badminton player's.
We must have more than one physio concentrating on boxers in different weight categories. A 49kg boxer's muscle mass is different, so are his needs. Likewise, a +91kg boxer will have different physical demands.
We have four-five coaches for a group of 35-40 boxers in the national camp. This must be increased to at least 8-10, so that they can concentrate and keep track of the boxers.
We need proper video analysts, like in the UK or US, who can tell our boxers how the opponent's defence can be cracked or how defensive one needs to get.
One cannot give everything during the qualification event. They need to peak during Olympics, Asian Games or the CWG.