Ever since Vijender Singh's bronze medal-winning performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Indian boxers have continued to excel.
Be it the World Championship last year, age-group international outings or last month's Commonwealth Games, the pugilists have gone on to improve their medals tally.
At the Delhi Games, the 10-member squad clinched seven medals, including three gold, improving upon their earlier performance of five medals, including one gold, at the last edition in Melbourne (2006). But the real test will come at next week's Asian Games in Guangzhou.
The performance at the continental games will show exactly where we stand.
“The level of competition at the Commonwealth Games was good but at the Asian Games it is going to be much higher. We will surely improve upon the last edition's performance of two bronze medals, but matching the Commonwealth Games tally would be difficult,” said national coach, GS Sandhu.
Commonwealth countries had bagged seven medals in boxing during the Beijing Olympics, while the Asian countries had clinched 13, which is a fair indication of the level of competition in the continent.
“If all goes well, we should win three medals. And, if we are able to bag 4-5 medals, it'll be an excellent performance,” Sandhu added.
After the Commonwealth Games, the Indian players have got just four weeks to train and in this period, they have had to skip quite a few training sessions because of the various felicitation ceremonies. “We had less time to prepare for the Asian Games.
But we cannot stop our boxers from attending these functions as this is the only time people felicitate them. Whatever time we got, we have utilised it properly and hopefully everyone will give off his best,” said Sandhu.
Vijender, who lost the controversial semifinal at the Commonwealth Games, is looking forward to make up the loss. “I was sure of winning gold in Delhi as it was within my reach. Unfortunately, I lost on penalties. The Asian Games is a golden opportunity to make up for the loss,” said the Olympic medallist.
For Amandeep Singh, it's going to be a new field in the 49kg category.
Both the Beijing Olympic medallists in his weight category have moved to upper weight divisions.
“All the boxers in my weight category are new, so I can't say who will be tough. I have to take the challenge bout-by-bout,” said Amandeep, who had won bronze at the Commonwealth Games.
Of the seven CWG medallists, Manoj Kumar (64kg gold) and Jai Bhagwan (60kg bronze) are not part of the Asian Games squad, as the team for the both the quadrennial event were decided before the Delhi Games.
National champion Santosh Kumar has replaced Manoj in 64kg, while Youth Olympic silver-medallist Vikas Krishan has replaced Jai Bhagwan.
Team: Amandeep Singh (49kg), Suranjoy Singh (52), Chhote Lal Yadav (56), Vikas Krishan (60), Santosh Kumar (64kg), Dilbag Singh (69), Vijender Singh (75), Dinesh Kumar (81), Manpreet Singh (91), Paramjeet Samota (+91).