Back from Albena, Bulgaria, where Indian women boxers won a silver and two bronze medals at the junior and youth World Championships, coach IV Rao said the medal count could have been higher if India had an official presence.
The All India Boxing Association has been derecognised by the world body for not following the constitution and so Indian boxers cannot fight under the Tri-colour on the world stage.
“We didn’t have any official support. We were allowed to participate but we could never complain or file a protest in case we felt that the decision should have gone our way,” Rao said here.
“If the close decisions had gone our way, we could have easily clinched 2-3 more medals. Even some of opposition teams like Russia came to us after bouts and told us that some decision were hard on us,” he added.
Nikhat Zareen won silver in the junior 54kg and Simranjeet Kaur (60kg, youth) and Asha Roka (48kg, junior) won bronze.
That apart, Rao said the competition was also tough, not to mention the new 10-point scoring system, which will take some time for the boxers to make adjustments.
“There were 33 countries and close to 300 boxers, the competition was very tough but our girls fought well and gave good performances,” he said. “The scoring system is different because it is like manual scoring and it no longer just about landing punches. The judges evaluate the boxers on movement, speed and ring-craft,” he explained.
Zareen, a class 12th student, gave up athletics to pursue boxing with the backing of a supporting father, who himself dabbled in cricket and football for some time.
“I started boxing in 2009 and played my first National Championships in 2010. I got a gold medal and the Best Boxer trophy. I got into boxing after I saw that there were no girl in the boxing competition of a Urban Games that were held in my hometown,” she said.
“I am the only female boxer in Nizamabad and I train with boys. My immediate family has been very supporting but my relatives do question my passion sometimes, but that’s OK,” said the teenager.