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Foreign trips the way to go

If one were to compare the boxing contingent’s overall performance at the London Olympics to previous editions, what stands out is the upward curve, the credit for which goes to the diminutive MC Mary Kom.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2012 03:23 IST
Saurabh Duggal

If one were to compare the boxing contingent’s overall performance at the London Olympics to previous editions, what stands out is the upward curve, the credit for which goes to the diminutive MC Mary Kom.

But, if the focus shifts to men’s boxing, the country’s expectations fell short in London. In Beijing 2008, India were represented by five boxers of which three advanced, and Vijiender Singh went on to win bronze.

In London, the growing standards in the country saw a record seven boxers making it to the Games. Of them, only two moved to the last-eight stage http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/11/16-11-12-pg-17a.jpgbut none could make it to the podium.

“If the comparison is restricted to medals, then the showing in London was not on expected lines. But if we analyse our boxers individually, then each one fared better. None of them had easy opponents and even in defeat they made a point,” GS Sandhu, the chief national coach, told HT. “We are thankful to Mary Kom that her medal was the saving grace, as a medal in London was essential for promoting the sport in the country,” he added.

Looking ahead
Next on the radar is the 2016 Olympics and, en route to Rio, among the challenges the Indian boxers face are next year’s World Championships and the 2014 Asian and Commonwealth Games.
The national camp for men starts today at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, and the number of campers is up from 48, for the London Olympics, to 60.
“We have made some alterations to our coaching programme, keeping the lessons from London in mind,” said Sandhu. “After analysing the London performance, we've come to the conclusion that we should have gone for more competitions before the Games. This time, we have included more international exposure trips.”

Foreign exposure
Before next year’s World Championships at Kazakhstan (in October), the Indian Boxing Federation has planned a European tour; training-cum-competition programme in Cuba and an acclimatisation camp in Kazakhstan.
“We have structured the training programme in a way that our boxers will get to train and compete with European, American and Asian boxers before the World Championships,” said Sandhu. “In February, we will have a three-week European tour during which we will travel to Germany, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. In June-July, we will go to Cuba and three weeks before the Worlds, we will be in Kazakhstan.”

No Big names
None of the seven London-bound boxers competed at the recently held senior national championships in Hyderabad, thus taking the sheen off the domestic meet. “I feel taking part in the Nationals should be a must for every boxer. The inclusion of big names will increase the event’s prestige, thus leading to more competition,” said Sandhu.

Young blood
“Most of our boxers, who competed in London, are still young, and looking at the past, they (youngsters) tend to perform only in their second Olympics. I am confident the boys will be medal hopefuls in Rio,” said Sandhu.